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Theological   Seminary, 



^**'*^^>  -Dwsion, 

f^'»^fJ)      Sectior 



v/.   I 


J,  .kl.  I'lnun^-x^tuT-^C^ 

Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1870,  by 


in  trust,  as 

Treasurer  of  Pcblication  of  the  General  Assembly  of  the  Presbyterian 

Church  in  the  United  States, 

in  the  office  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  'Washington. 


1.  These  collected  writings  of  James  Henley  Thoen- 
WELE  will  probably  fill  six  volumes,  of  which  four  will 
contain  all  his  Theological  works,  and  be  published  by  the 
Presbyterian  Cliurch  in  the  United  States.  The  remaining 
two  will  consist  of  very  valuable  miscellanea,  but  it  is  not 
yet  determined  under  whose  auspices  as  publishers  they 
shall  be  given  to  the  public.  Some  of  these  are  metaphys- 
ical and  some  few  political ;  the  major  portion  are  sermons 
and  sketches  of  sermons,  addresses,  etc.,  etc. 

Of  the  four  volumes  to  be  issued  by  the  Presbyterian 
Committee  of  Publication  at  Richmond,  the  First  may  pro- 
perly be  entitled  Theological  ;  the  Second,  Theological 
AND  Ethical;  the  Third,  Theological  and  Conteo- 
VEESiAL ;  the  Fourth,  Ecclesiological. 

The  present  volume  contains  sixteen  Lectures  in  Theology, 
never  before  printed,  besides  three  separate  articles  published 
during  the  author's  lifetime.  All  these  constitute  his  dis- 
cussion of  that  portion  of  Theology  which  relates  to  God 
and  to  Moral  Government  essentially  considered,  or  to  the 
same  as  modified  by  the  Covenant  of  Works.  To  this  vol- 
ume, by  way  of  appendix,  are  added  his  Inaugural  Dis- 
course, his  Questions  on  the  Lectures  to  his  classes,  his 
Analysis  of  Calvin's  Institutes  and  his  Examination  Ques- 
tions thereupon. 

The  next  volume  will  discuss  that  portion  of  Theology 
which  relates  to  Moral  Government  as  modified  by  the 
Covenant  of  Grace.     These  two  volumes  are  not  a  treatise 


ou  Theology  written  by  our  distinguished  j)rofessor,  but 
consist  of  all  that  he  left  behind  him  upon  those  topics, 
gathered  together  since  his  decease  by  the  hand  of  friend- 
ship, and  systematized  as  well  as  possible  according  to  his 
conception  of  the  science  of  Theology.  The  sixteen  Lectures 
may  be  reckoned  his  very  latest  productions.  Upon  some 
of  the  topics  in  the  second  volume,  what  we  have  to  present 
the  reader  will  be  some  of  his  earlier  writings ;  there 
is  not  one  of  them,  however,  but  bears  the  same  impress  of 
genius — not  one  of  them  but  is  instinct  with  the  same  unc- 
tion of  the  Spirit  of  truth  and  love. 

Accompanying  what  the  second  volume  will  contain  upon 
the  Doctrines  of  Grace,  there  will  be  found  a  partial  discus- 
sion of  the  Morals  which  necessarily  flow  out  of  those  doc- 
trines. Dr.  Thornwell  did  not  write  on  the  other  two 
departments  of  Ethics — Justice  and  Benevolence — but  he 
wrote  and  published  a  separate  volume  of  seven  Discourses 
on  Truth.  The  place  assigned  to  them  in  this  collection  of 
all  his  writings  is  judged  to  be  logically  the  most  suitable 

The  third  volume  will  contain  an  elaborate  discussion  of 
the  Canon,  the  Authority  of  Scripture,  Papal  Infallibility, 
the  Mass,  the  Validity  of  Popish  Baptism,  and  the  Claims 
of  the  Romish  Church  to  be  reckoned  any  Church  at  all. 
In  the  discussion  of  Popish  Baptism  the  author  ^^^as  led  into 
a  thorough  consideration  of  the  Christian  doctrine  of  Justifi- 
cation, and  hence  that  whole  argument  might  well  have 
been  placed  in  the  second  volume.  Connected  as  it  was, 
however,  by  other  ties  with  the  Romish  controversy,  it  was 
judged  best,  after  mature  reflection,  to  place  it  in  the  volume 
of  the  Theological  and  Polemic  writings. 

The  discussion  of  the  Canon  and  of  Papal  Infallibility  ap- 
peared first  in  the  newspapers,  where  Dr.  Thornwell  was 
forced  to  defend  himself  against  Bishop  Lynch.  His  assail- 
ant having  quit  the  field,  he  prosecuted  the  discussion  for  a 
time,  and  then  published  both  sides  of  the  controversy  in  a 
volume  which  is  now  out  of  print.     These  questions  have 

editor's  preface.  V 

been  made  to  assume  in  our  time  a  fresh  interest,  and  we 
shall  hasten  to  present  to  the  public  Dr.  Thornwell's  very 
masterly  and  learned  contributions  to  their  elucidation. 

In  the  fourth  volume  will  be  gathered  whatever  else  Dr. 
Thorn  well  has  left  behind  him  touching  the  question  of  the 

2.  The  editor  is  responsible  for  the  correction  of  numerous 
clerical  errors  in  the  manuscript  lectures  and  typographical 
ones  in  the  printed  pieces ;  for  the  arrangement  and  classifi- 
cation of  the  matter ;  for  the  Table  of  Contents ;  for  the  In- 
dex ;  and  for  the  side-headings  of  the  Theological  Lectures, 
excepting  those  belonging  to  Lecture  I.,  which  are  Dr. 
Thornwell's.  These  side-headings  were  undertaken  in  order 
to  make  the  remaining  lectures  correspond  in  that  particular 
with  the  first  one.  It  is  hoped  they  may  sometimes  assist 
beginners  in  Theology  somewhat  better  to  comprehend  the 
abstruser  parts  of  these  Lectures. 

3.  In  the  preparation  of  these  volumes  the  editor  has  been 
indebted  for  counsel  and  encouragement  to  his  three  col- 
leagues, Drs.  Howe,  Plumer  and  Woodrow,  to  Dr.  Pal- 
mer of  New  Orleans,  and  to  Stuart  Robinson.  For  im- 
portant assistance  rendered  his  thanks  are  due  to  Dr.  T. 
DwiGHT  WiTHERSPOON  of  Memphis.  To  Dr.  J.  L.  Gi- 
rardeau of  Charleston  he  is  under  special  obligations  for 
the  large  drafts  which  he  has  kindly  allowed  to  be  made 
continually  upon  his  learning,  judgment  and  taste,  and  for  a 
vast  amount  of  actual  labour  by  which  he  has  assisted  to 
prepare  these  writings  for  the  press.  Dr.  Thornwell's 
friend,  loving  and  beloved,  as  well  as  the  editor's,  this  has 
been  with  him  of  counse  a  labour  of  love ;  yet  it  is  proper 
here  to  record  this  public  acknowledgment  of  the  toil  he  has 
without  stint  bestowed  upon  these  works.  There  are  two 
other  persons  without  whose  aid  this  task  could  never  have 
been  performed.  They  may  not  be  named  here;  but  the 
author,  whilst  he  was  with  us,  was  their  revered  and  beloved 
friend,  and  the  severest  and  most  protracted  literary  drudgery 
for  his  sake  has  been  joyfully  performed  by  them.     Faith- 

vi  editor's  preface. 

fully  have  they  wrought  in  erecting  this  monument  to  our 
illustrious  dead. 

There  is  still  a  debt  of  obligation  to  be  acknowledged. 
Soon  after  the  war,  informal  arrangements  with  the  Messrs. 
Carter  of  New  York  were  entered  into  for  the  publication 
of  these  works.  It  was  then  expected  to  collect  from  the 
friends  of  Dr.  Thornwell  the  means  of  stereotyping  them, 
and  to  present  the  plates  to  his  widow.  Mr.  Robert  Carter 
claimed  that  he  was  one  of  this  class,  and  as  a  contribution 
generously  gave  his  beautiful  plates  of  Thornwell  on  Truth. 
When  it  was  finally  concluded,  however,  to  adopt  the  octavo 
form  for  these  collected  writings,  those  plates,  being  in  duo- 
decimo, were  returned  to  their  liberal  donor,  and  a  new  edi- 
tion has  since  aj^peared,  upon  which  the  customary  royalty  is 
paid  to  Mrs.  Thornwell.  Matters  stood  thus  when  Dr. 
Baird  of  the  Richmond  Committee  expressed  a  strong  desire 
for  our  Church  to  own  and  publish  herself  the  works  of  her 
beloved  son,  and  the  idea  commended  itself  so  strongly  to 
the  editor's  feelings  and  judgment  that  he  frankly  solicited 
of  the  New  York  publishers  a  release  from  his  engagements 
to  them.  It  was  unhesitatingly  and  very  politely  granted. 
Very  recently  the  same  gentlemen  were  asked  to  allow  the 
Discourses  on  Truth  to  make  part  of  this  collection.  The 
answer  was  in  these  short  and  pithy  terms :  "  Your  letter 
was  received  this  morning,  and  we  accede  at  once  and  cor- 
dially to  your  request."  Not  many  words  are  needed  to  ex- 
press a  deep  sense  of  so  much  kindness  so  kindly  done. 

It  is  proper  to  say  that  while  the  stereotype  plates  of  this 
collection  will  belong  to  our  Church,  the  family  of  the  de- 
ceased will  receive  from  the  Committee,  who  bear  all  the 
expenses  of  printing,  binding,  etc.,  a  very  liberal  royalty  on 
all  sales  in  'perpetuo. 





Relative  importance  of  the  science  of  Theology.  Its  Nomenclature 
and  its  Scope. 

I.  Nomenclature  of  Theology.  Vindication  of  the  term  Theology.  Its 
usage  among  the  ancient  Greeks.  Patristic  usage.  Scholastic  usage. 
Modern  usage.  Scholastic  distinctions  of  Theology.  Komish  and  Re- 
formed Scholasticism. 

II.  Scope  and  nature  of  Theology.  1.  Definition  of  Theology.  Is 
Theology  a  science?  Its  relation  to  religion.  Object  of  Theology.  2. 
Plan  of  these  lectures  answering  to  a  threefold  division  of  Theology.  3. 
Source  of  our  knowledge  of  Theology.  Principle  of  Theology  according 
to  Romanists ;  according  to  Rationalists ;  according  to  orthodox  Protest- 
ants.    Respective  spheres  of  Reason  and  Revelation Page  25 



The  union  of  all  our  powers  in  the  recognition  of  the  Being  of  God. 
Religion,  or  the  spiritual  knowledge  of  God,  is  the  highest  form  of  life 
and  the  consummation  of  our  being.  The  method  of  proof  is  to  consider 
man  first  as  a  rational,  secondly  as  a  moral,  and  thirdly  as  a  religious 

I.  The  testimony  of  speculative  reason.  The  root  of  this  faculty  is  the 
law  of  causation.  This  law  defined  as  both  a  law  of  thought  and  a  law 
of  existence.  In  the  Theistic  argument  the  contingency  of  the  world 
proves  an  eternal  and  necessary  cause,  and  this  by  immediate  inference. 
This  Cosmological  argument  vindicated  from  the  charge  of  soi)histry, 
yet  defective.  The  general  order  and  special  adaptations  in  the  universe 
prove  an  intelligent  cause.     This  Teleological  argument  the  complement 



of  the  preceding ;  and  the  two  comLmed  prove  the  being  of  an  Infinite 
Intelligence.     The  Ontological  argument  criticised. 

II.  The  testimony  of  man's  moral  nature.  Personal  responsibility  in- 
fers the  Being  of  God.  1.  Commands  imply  a  lawgiver.  2.  Duty  im- 
plies a  judge.  3.  Sense  of  good  and  ill  d&sert  imjalies  moral  government. 
Hence,  Conscience  an  immediate  affirmation  of  God.  It  reveals  the  same 
God  with  reason,  but  in  higher  relations. 

III.  The  testimony  of  man's  religious  nature.  The  principle  of  wor- 
ship in  man  implies  the  Being  of  God.  Under  the  Gospel  the  knowledge 
culminates  in  communion  with  Him.  Thus  man  finds  the  complement 
of  all  his  powers  in  a  living  and  personal  God.  In  what  sense  the  know- 
ledge of  God  is  innate,     li  is  mediate  and  representative Page  53 


man's  natural  ignokance  of  god. 

Man  led  to  God  by  the  structure  of  his  own  being,  yet  unassisted  reason 
always  ignorant  of  Him. 

I.  The  nature  of  this  ignorance  explained  as  due  to  some  foreign  influ- 
ence. Statement  and  consideration  of  its  two  causes :  1,  the  malignity 
of  Satan  ;  and  2,  the  depravity  of  our  nature.  The  influence  of  depravity 
(1.)  in  the  sphere  of  si>eculation — perverting  first  the  reason  and  then  the 
imagination ;  (2.)  in  the  sphere  of  morals  through  a  perverted  conscience  ; 
(3,)  in  the  sphere  of  worship,  by  means  of  idolatrous  inventions. 

II.  The  profounder  ignorance  of  man's  heart  even  where  there  is 
speculative  knowledge.     Divine  influence  the  only  remedy. 

III.  The  question  of  the  resiionsibility  of  the  heathen  for  their  igno- 
rance of  God.  Heathenism  the  consummation  of  depravity  in  the  intel- 
lectual, moral  and  religious  nature  of  man Paye  74 



Two  extremes  of  opinion  :  that  He  is  perfectly  comprehensible  and  that 
He  is  perfectly  incomprehensible.  In  the  middle,  betwixt  these  extremes, 
the  truth  that  God  is  at  once  known  and  unknown.  As  absolute  and  in- 
finite He  is  unknown,  but  He  is  manifested  through  the  finite.  As  pro- 
perties reveal  substance,  so  the  finite  reveals  the  infinite.  Our  concep- 
tions of  the  attributes  of  God  derived  from  the  human  soul  and  embrace 
two  elements  :  one  positive — the  abstract  notion  of  a  particular  perfection 
ascribed  to  God  in  the  way  of  analogy  and  not  of  similitude ;  the  other 
negative — a  protest  against  ascribing  to  God  the  limitations  and  condi- 
tions of  man,  and  a  regulative  principle  at  once  to  warn  and  to  guide. 
This  relative  analogical  knowledge  of  God  the  catholic  doctrine  of  theo- 


Tlie  objection  rebutted  tbat  this  knowledge  gives  no  true  representation 
of  the  Divine  Being.  Equally  valid  against  all  knowledge.  It  is  not 
only  true  and  trustworthy,  but  adequate  for  all  the  purposes  of  religion. 
Characteristic  of  man,  whether  in  a  state  of  unmixed  probation,  of  sin,  or 
of  partial  recovery.  Does  not  weaken  but  strengthens  the  grounds  of  re- 
ligious worship.  This  relativeness  of  our  knowledge  of  God  in  harmony  \Jt^ . 
with  the  teachings  of  Scripture. 

It  follows  that  no  science  of  God  is  possible.  The  belief  of  the  contrary 
is  the  source  of  most  heresies.  Our  ignorance  of  the  Infinite  solves  the 
most  perplexing  problems  of  Theology., Page,  104 



God's  nature  and  perfections  disclosed  in  the  use  of  personal  and  at- 
tributive names.  Each  one  contributes  its  share  to  the  Ecvelation.  They 
diminish  in  number  as  the  Revelation  advances.  Comparative  predomi- 
nance of  the  names  Elohim  and  Jehovah  in  the  Pentateuch.  Import  of 
the  name  Elohim  as  indicating  the  Trinity  in  Covenant ; — of  the  name 
Jehovah  as  expressing  absolute  plenitude  of  being  and  His  relation  to 
man  as  his  Redeemer  and  Saviour ; — of  the  name  Jah  as  setting  forth 
God's  beauty  and  glory ; — of  the  name  Adonai  as  implying  dominion 
founded  in  ownership ; — of  Shaddai  as  representing  God  the  Almighty 
and  Supreme  ; — of  El  as  indicating  His  irresistible  power  ; — of  Elyon  as 
revealing  God  as  the  Most  High.  The  Greek  names  Kvptoq  and  feof  ex- 
plained  Page  143 



God  as  He  is  in  Himself  cannot  be  defined.  But  we  may  represent  our 
conceptions  of  Him  in  language.  He  must  be  conceived  of  as  substance 
and  attributes.  Two  definitions  of  God  considered.  The  best  definition 
is  that  of  the  Shorter  Catechism.  This,  after  having  a  defect  supplied, 
will  best  answer  the  two  questions.  Quid  sit  Deus  f  and,  Qualis  sit  Beus  ? 

Our  notion  of  the  Attributes,  whence  derived  ?  These  are  not  separa- 
ble from  the  Essence  of  God.  Said  to  be  all  radically  one.  This  is  dis- 
proved first  from  the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity,  and  secondly  from  the  law 
of  our  own  minds.  The  distinction  of  virtual  or  eminent  and  real  differ- 
ence which  plays  so  important  a  part  in  theological  treatises.  Applied 
to  the  question  of  the  oneness  of  all  the  Attributes,  God  is  shown  to  be 
eminently  all  that  the  universe  contains,  and  accordingly  One,  but  giving 
rise  to  diversity.  This  is  ingenious,  but  unsatisfactory  juggling  with  scho- 
lastic technicalities.  We  are  constrained  to  make  distinctions  in  the  at- 
tributes of  God,  but  the  whole  subject  transcends  the  sphere  of  our 


Since  we  can  know  God  only  as  of  distinct  attributes,  some  classification 
of  them  is  important.  Seven  schemes  of  distribution  are  signalized. 
Substantially  they  are  nearly  all  the  same.  The  fundamental  distinction 
is  between  those  attributes  which  refer  to  God's  necessary  existence  and 
those  which  refer  to  Him  as  a  Personal  Spirit.  Classifications  of  Dr. 
Hodge  and  Dr.  Breckinridge  considered.  The  simplest  division  is 
grounded  in  the  distinction  between  those  which  pervade  the  whole 
being  of  God  and  those  which  are  special  and  determinative — these  latter 
being  subdivided  into  intellectual  and  moral. 

It  is  proposed,  accordingly,  to  treat  first  of  the  Nature  of  God,  and  then 
to  unfold  the  Attributes  in  the  order  here  set  forth Page  158 



This  the  foundation  of  all  religious  worship.  Also  the  foundation  of 
the  Divine  attributes.  Scripture  proof  of  it.  The  ancient  heathen  phi- 
losophers concur.     Both  a  negative  and  a  positive  truth. 

I.  It  is  negative  in  that  it  denies  to  Him  the  properties  of  matter. 
Ancient  and  modern  Aiithropomorphites.  Defence  of  Tertullian  from 
this  charge.  The  Anthropomorphism  of  Scripture  explained.  The  im- 
materiality of  God  implied  in  the  prohibitions  to  figure  Him  by  images. 

II.  It  is  positive  in  that  it  affirms  Him  a  person  possessed  of  intelli- 
gepce  and  will.  This  implies  separateness  of  being  in  opposition  to  every 
form  of  Pantheism.  The  notion  of  God's  spirituality  involves — 1.  Life  in 
Himself  and  necessary  activity ;  2.  This  activity  one  of  thought  and  will ; 
3.  The  unity  and  simplicity  of  His  being ;  4.  His  power  of  communion 
with  our  spirits ;  5.  That  He  cannot  be  represented  by  images.  Accord- 
ingly, Idolatry  is  a  twofold  falsehood Page  173 



These  are  universal  and  all-pervading,  characterizing  the  whole  being 
and  every  perfection  of  God. 

I.  His  Independence.  The  term  used  with  reference  to  the  grounds 
of  God's  being,  and  implies  that  He  is  uncaused.  This  mystery  not  more 
incomprehensible  than  caused  being.  Both  transcend  our  faculties. 
Certain  modes  of  expression  regarding  this  subject  criticised.  God's  in- 
dependence involved  in  every  argument  for  His  being.  The  Scriptures 
also  presuppose  it  throughout.  It  pervades  every  determinate  perfection 
of  God  as  well  as  His  being. 

II.  His  Eternity.  This  term  used  with  reference  to  the  duration  of 
His  being.  Vain  attempts  by  the  Schoolmen  to  define  it.  All  our  con- 
ceptions of  it  must  be  purely  negative.  But  these  negations  cover  trans- 
cendent excellence. 


III.  His  Immensity.  This  term  used  with  reference  to  tlie  extent  of 
His  being.  How  distinguished  from  His  Omnipresence.  Precludes  all 
mixture  with  other  beings  or  objects.  Not  the  mere  virtual  presence  of 
His  power,  which  is  to  deny  His  infinity.  The  Scriptures  full  of  this 
amazing  perfection  of  God,  and  herein  make  manifest  their  own  Divine 
origin.  Special  sense  in  which  the  Scriptures  sometimes  speak  of  God's 
presence.  His  immensity  as  incomprehensible  as  His  eternity.  Practical 
uses  of  the  doctrine. 

IV.  His  All-sufBciency.  This  term  used  with  reference  to  the  contents 
of  His  being.  He  contains  the  plenitude  of  the  universe.  The  sense  ex- 
plained in  which  the  perfections  of  all  creatures  are  in  Him  formally, 
eminently  or  virtually.  The  value  of  this  truth  as  a  regulative  principle 
of  faith. 

V.  His  Immutability.  This  applies  to  the  permanence  of  God's  being. 
Only  another  form  of  asserting  the  simplicity  and  oneness  of  the  Infinite. 
A  self-evident  truth,  and  abundantly  proclaimed  in  Scripture.  Appears 
to  be  contradicted  by  the  fact  of  creation.  By  reason  of  our  ignorance  we 
cannot  solve  the  difficulty.  The  Divine  essence  not  modified  by  the  In- 
carnation of  the  Son,  nor  by  any  changes  which  take  place  in  the  universe. 
Scriptures  which  ascribe  change  to  God.  Foundation  of  all  our  hopes 
and  fears.  It  is  the  immutability  of  goodness  and  truth.  Disparity  be- 
twixt God  and  the  creature.  Rebuke  of  arrogance,  cavilling  and  mur- 
murs  Page  189 



Five  hypotheses  of  the  relations  between  the  finite  and  the  infinite : 
viz. — 1,  that  of  the  Atheists ;  2,  that  of  the  Eleatics ;  3,  that  of  the  Pan- 
theists ;  4,  that  of  the  Dualists ;  5,  that  of  the  Theists.  The  first  two  dis- 
counted immediately,  as  having  in  our  times  no  advocates  of  considera- 
tion. The  fourth  is  also  to  be  discounted  at  once,  as  being  a  disguised 
Atheism.  The  only  scheme  which  remains  inconsistent  with  Creation  is 
Pantheism,  which  is  the  prevailing  tendency  of  modern  philosophy. 

The  fundamental  postulate  of  Pantheism  is  the  impossibility  and  ab- 
surdity of  Creation.  A  fourfold  outline  of  the  Pantheistic  objections. 
All  these  arguments  have  the  same  capital  vice  of  attempting  to  grasp 
what  transcends  our  faculties.  The  infinite  is  not  to  be  known,  but 

Detailed  reply  to  these  objections  of  Pantheism.  The  first  one  shown 
to  be  based  on  a  double  misconcej)tion.  The  second  one  retorted  on  the 
Pantheists.  In  the  third  place,  it  is  shown  that  Pantheism  does  not  ob- 
viate the  difficulties  which  arise  from  the  knowledge  and  from  the  will 
of  God ;  that  it  transcends  our  power  to  conceive  of  the  nature  of  Divine 
knowledge  or  the  operation  of  the  Divine  will,  while  yet  there  are  grounds 
upon  which  we  can  conceive  that  God  might  choose  to  create.     Fourthly, 


Pantheism  aggravates  instead  of  diminishing  the  objection  to  Creation 
from  the  existence  of  evil  by  lodging  it  in  God's  very  nature. 

Positive  argument  for  creation  from  the  data  of  consciousness  :  1,  The 
world  has  a  real,  separate  existence ;  2,  it  is  finite ;  3,  these  two  imply 
that  it  began ;  4,  it  had  a  cause,  and  that  cause  the  Creator.  The  inva- 
riable tendency  of  speculation  to  contradict  the  most  palpable  deliver- 
ances of  consciousness.  5.  The  Creator  must  be  eternal  and  necessary. 
Only  God  can  create  or  annihilate.  This  principle  is  vital  in  Theology 
and  fundamental  in  the  Evidences Page  206 


Calvin's  definition  of  true  wisdom  as  the  knowledge  of  God  and  of  our- 
selves. Man  a  microcosm.  The  subject  to  be  considered :  I.  As  to  the 
distinguishing  characteristics  of  man ;  II.  As  to  his  condition  when  he 
came  from  the  hands  of  his  Maker ;  III.  As  to  the  destiny  he  was  to 

I.  Man  essentially  a  person.  Keason  and  Will  distinguish  humanity 
and  involve  the  existence  of  a  soul  in  man.  Vindication  of  man's  im- 
mortality upon  other  than  scriptural  grounds. 

II.  The  question  of  man's  being  created  in  infancy  or  with  his  powers 
matured.  Pelagian  and  Popish  theories.  In  puris  naturalibus.  1.  Adam 
not  created  an  infant,  either  in  mind  or  in  body,  2.  Not  created  indif- 
ferent to  holiness  and  sin.     3.  The  indirect  testimony  of  Scri^jture  on  this 

•  subject :  (1.)  Adam  had  the  gift  of  language  in  its  most  difiicult  and  com- 
plicated relations ;  (2.)  Eve  was  created  a  mature  woman ;  (3.)  The  pair 
received  a  commission  which  involved  their  being  mature ;  (4.)  Adam 
was  not  a  rude,  warlike,  destructive  savage.  4.  The  direct  testimony  of 
Scripture  is  not  definite  as  to  Adam's  knowledge  of  nature,  but  very  ex- 
plicit as  to  his  moral  condition.  A  looser  and  a  stricter  sense  of  the  ex- 
pression, "  image  of  God."  The  strict  and  proper  sense  is  holiness  mani- 
fested in  knowledge  and  righteousness.  Adam  was  endowed  with  both 
the  knowledge  of  God  and  rectitude  of  disposition.  The  Devil  has  a  per- 
sonal and  spiritual  nature,  but  not  the  "  image  of  God."  In  what  sense 
the  holiness  of  Adam  was  natural.  5.  Adam's  holiness  was  natural,  but 
not  indefectible.  The  difference  between  confirmed  and  untried  holiness. 
How  could  the  understanding  be  deceived  and  the  will  perverted  in  the 
case  of  a  holy  creature  ?  Several  unsatisfactory  solutions  of  this  problem 
considered :  those  of  Pelagians,  of  certain  Papists  and  of  Bishop  Butler. 
The  Orthodox  solution  brings  in  the  freedom  of  man's  will.  The  differ- 
ence between  freedom  not  yet  deliberately  chosen  and  freedom  as  a  neces- 
sity of  nature.  This  is  the  doctrine  of  Calvin,  of  the  Confession,  of  Tiir- 
rettin  and  of  Howe,  but  fundamentally  diflerent  from  the  Pelagian. 

III.  The  end  of  man's  creation.  Man's  relation  to  God  was  that  of  a 
servant Page  223 




The  subject  of  consideration  is — I.,  the  essential  principles  of  moral  go- 
vernment ;  and  II.,  Avhat  is  implied  in  the  relation  of  a  servant. 

I.  The  essentials  of  moral  government  are — first,  that  the  moral  law 
should  be  the  rule  of  obedience ;  and  secondly,  that  rewards  and  punish- 
ments should  be  distributed  on  the  principle  of  justice.  The  notion  of 
justice  is  founded  in  our  moral  nature.  Analysis  of  conscience  into  three 
cognitions  :  1,  the  perception  of  right — an  act  of  the  understanding ;  2, 
the  feeling  of  obligation — which  belongs  to  the  emotions ;  3,  the  conviction 
of  merit  or  demerit — a  sentence  passed  by  the  mind  upon  itself.  These 
are  logically  distinguishable,  but  fundamentally  the  same.  The  sense  of 
good  and  ill  desert  is  a  jDrimitive  notion.  It  is  an  indissoluble  moral  tie 
which  binds  together  merit  and  right,  demerit  and  wrong.  This  morail 
principle  of  administration  constitutes  government  moral.  Conscience 
expresses  itself  in  hopes  as  well  as  fears,  but  obliterates  all  claims  from  a 
past  righteousness.  It  demands  perfect  obedience,  and  counts  all  other 
null.  The  creature's  whole  immortal  life  is  one,  and  at  whatever  moment 
its  perfection  is  lost,  all  is  over.  Eepresentation  an  admissible,  yet  not 
necessary,  principle  of  pure  moral  government. 

II.  The  relation  of  servant.  Three  differences  betwixt  a  servant  and  a 
son  :  1,  the  expectation  of  a  servant  is  based  on  his  own  merit — of  a  son 
on  the  fullness  of  Divine  benevolence ;  2,  the  access  of  a  servant  to  God  is 
not  full  and  free  and  close  like  that  of  a  son ;  3,  to  a  servant  the  law 
si^eaks  of  obligations,  to  a  son  of  privileges. 

These  views  of  moral  government  and  the  relation  of  a  servant  are 
scriptural.     Exposition  of  Romans  ii.  6-11,  and  of  Ezekiel  xxxiii.  12,  seq. 

Moral  government  to  be  carefully  distinguished  from  moral  discipline. 
The  law  knows  no  discipline  but  growth.  Discipline  provides  for  the 
formation  of  holy  habits  and  the  eradication  of  propensities  to  evil.  The 
law  knows  how  to  punish,  but  not  to  reform.  It  knows  no  repentance ; 
once  a  sinner,  always  and  hopelessly  a  sinner.  Four  distinctions  between 
government  and  discipline  specified.  In  fine,  Discipline  is  of  Grace — 
Government,  of  Nature Page  252 



The  way  is  now  open  to  examine  the  peculiar  features  of  the  dispensa- 
tion vinder  which  man  was  placed  immediately  after  his  creation.  The 
servant  was  to  become  a  son,  and  so  there  was  grace  in  the  first  covenant 
as  truly  as  in  the  second.  Although  the  adoption  was  of  grace,  yet  it 
must  also  be  a  reward  of  obedience,  for  man  was  not  to  be  arbitrarily  pro- 
moted.    An  important  modification  of  the  general  principles  of  moral 


government  is  introduced  by  which  probation  is  limited  as  to  time.  This 
brings  into  the  Divine  economy  a  new  feature,  viz. — justification.  These 
are  free  acts  of  God's  bounty,  and  accordingly  are  matters  of  pure  revela- 
tion, as  the  religion  of  man  must  always  be.  The  dispensation  under 
which  these  modifications  of  moral  government  are  introduced  is  called 
the  Covenant  of  Works. 

This  covenant  defined,  and  the  precise  sense  given  in  which  the  term 
covenant  is  applied  to  this  dispensation.  The  two  essential  things  of  the 

Prior  to  the  discussion  of  these,  another  modification  of  moral  govern- 
ment is  considered,  by  which  the  probation  is  limited  as  to  the  persons  in- 
terested, and  Adam  becomes  the  representative  of  all  his  race.  This  is  a 
provision  of  pure  goodness.  Adam,  the  root,  because  to  be  the  head. 
Kepresentation  of  grace.  Imputation  proceeds  from  the  federal  tie  and 
not  from  the  natural. 

Thus  two  principles  have  entered  which  pervade  every  dispensation  of 
religion  to  our  race — the  principles  of  justification  and  imputation — key- 
notes both  of  the  legal  and  evangelical  covenants. 

I.  The  fii'st  essential  of  the  Covenant  of  Works  is  its  condition.  This 
was  obedience  to  a  positive  precept.  Bishop  Butler  on  the  difference  be- 
twixt moral  and  positive  precepts  criticised.  The  real  difference  stated. 
Butler  criticised  again  on  the  ground  of  preference  of  the  moral  to  the 
positive.  Peculiar  fitness  of  the  positive  to  be  the  condition  of  the  Cove- 
nant of  Works.  Why  the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil  was 
called  by  that  name.  The  explanation  overturns  various  hypotheses — as 
that  the  effects  of  the  fruit  of  the  two  trees  were  physical  effects,  and  that 
the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil  was  a  sacrament. 

The  positive,  however,  cannot  supersede  the  moral  law  nor  repeal  it,  for 
that  law  was  written  upon  the  heart  of  man.  The  positive  was  added  to 
the  moral,  and  Adam  was  placed  under  a  twofold  law.  Through  the  posi- 
tive the  issue  to  he  tried  might  be  determined  more  speedily  and  more 
fully ;  yet  it  was  the  whole  twofold  law,  both  moral  and  positive,  under 
which  man  was  placed.  This  view  confirmed  by  Scripture.  Moreover, 
the  sanction  of  the  positive  must  have  been  wholly  unintelligible,  unless 
the  moral  law  had  established  the  conviction  of  good  and  ill  desert.  Tlie 
importance  of  this  whole  discussion  set  forth. 

II.  The  second  essential  is  the  promise  of  the  covenant.  Moses,  respect- 
ing it,  says  nothing  directly.  But  the  Scriptures  must  needs  arbitrate, 
and  both  indirectly  and  positively  they  do  teach  what  was  the  promise  of 
the  covenant.  Under  four  heads  the  Scripture  doctrine  set  forth  that  the 
promise  was  eternal  life.  The  tree  of  life  was  a  sacramental  seal  of  the 
promise.     Warburton's  view  of  the  covenant  criticised. 

III.  The  penalty  of  disobedience.  Warburton's  and  two  otlier  theories 
discussed.  Tlie  true  view  of  the  penalty.  It  includes  all  pain.  It  is 
death,  spiritual,  temporal  and  eternal. 

IV.  The  conduct  of  man  under  all  this  display  of  Divine  benevolence. 


The  record  is  a  history  of  facts.  An  evil  spirit  is  present.  The  sin  of 
man  was  tlie  deliberate  rejection  of  God,  aggravated  by  his  relations  to 
God,  by  the  nature  of  the  act,  and  by  its  consequences. 

V.  The  relations  of  man  to  the  covenant  since  the  fall Page  264 



The  phrase  Original  Sin  as  used  in  a  wide  sense  by  the  Westminster 
Assembly,  in  a  narrower  one  by  Calvin,  Turrettin  and  nearly  all  the  Ee- 
formed.  The  author  of  the  expression  was  Augustin,  who  had  three  uses 
for  it.  In  this  lecture  it  is  employed  in  the  narrower  sense,  yet  the  notion 
of  guilt  is  not  excluded.  For  the  question  how  guilt  can  precede  existence 
must  be  met.  It  is  remitted,  however,  until  the  second  part  of  the  discus- 

I.  How  all  the  early  confessions,  Lutheran  and  Reformed,  held  Original 
Sin  :  1.  As  being  the  very  mould  of  man's  nature.  2.  As  negative,  the 
destitution  of  all  holy  principles ;  and  as  positive,  an  active  tendency  to 
all  evil.  These  but  two  sides  of  one  and  the  same  thing.  3.  As  universal 
and  all-pervading.  But  they  distinguished  between  loss  of  faculties  and 
extinction  of  spiritual  life.  Man  retained  reason,  conscience  and  taste. 
Yet  these  faculties,  though  not  destroyed,  were  all  weakened.  Augustin's 
language  on  this  point  Avas  objectionable.  The  phrase  total  depravity  used 
in  two  senses,  and  might  be  used  in  a  third ;  but  it  never  was  employed  to 
signify  that  men  are  as  wicked  as  they  could  be.     4.  As  hereditary. 

The  doctrine  as  thus  stated,  if  true,  is  appalling ;  if  not  true,  it  ought  to 
be  easily  disproved,  for  the  facts  of  the  case  are  patent,  and  the  reasoning 
short  and  simple. 

The  doctrine  must  be  true,  but  as  it  may  be  exaggerated,  it  should  be 
examined  with  the  utmost  candour  and  solemnity. 

In  investigating  the  facts  upon  which  it  is  grounded,  the  first  fact  en- 
countered is,  that  of  the  universality  of  sin.  Every  human  being  has  often 
done  wrong.  The  second  is,  that  in  all  there  is  a  stronger  tendency  to  evil 
than  to  good.  The  third  is,  that  the  best  of  men  complain  of  its  indwelling 
power.  The  fourth  is,  that  it  makes  its  appearance  in  the  youngest  chil- 
dren. These  extraordinary  facts  can  be  explained  only  upon  the  doctrine 
of  Original  Sin. 

But  a  tendency  to  sin  may  be  admitted  without  confessing  the  total  de- 
pravity taught  by  the  Reformers,  and  the  question  arises :  Is  there  no 
middle  ground  between  Pelagians  and  the  Reformed  ?  The  Sensationalists 
have  their  theory  and  the  Semi-Pelagians  theirs,  which  maintain  a  natural 
ability  quite  different  from  that  of  the  Arminians.  We  must  consider, 
therefore,  if  there  be  really  anything  good  in  man. 

If  there  be,  he  must  both  perceive  the  excellence  of  God  and  desire  to 
commune  with  Him,  for  both  these  elements  belong  to  holiness.  But 
Scripture  denies  to  man  both  of  these,  and  the  experience  of  all  the  re- 


newed  confirms  the  Scripture.  The  case  of  unrenewed  men  of  high  prob- 
ity does  not  at  all  contradict  this  testimony ;  eminent  conscientiousness 
may  be  conjoined  with  eminent  ungodliness.  The  virtue  of  the  Stoics  was 
pride;  that  of  Christianity  is  humility.  Holiness  and  morality  differ  as 
the  Ptolemaic  and  Copernican  systems.  As  the  one  puts  the  earth  in  the 
centre,  the  other  the  sun,  so  the  one  makes  man  supreme,  the  other  God. 

A  passage  of  Miiller  on  Sin  is  criticised  at  length,  and  four  distinctions 

pointed  out  between  holiness  and  morality.     In  what  sense  man  is  capable 

of   redemption.     The  real  tendencies  of  human   nature  are   exhibited 

amongst  tlie  heathen.     The  summing  up  shows  that  man  is  totally  desti- 

■;  tute  of  holiness  and  dead  in  trespasses  and  sins. 

II.  The  question  of  hereditary  guilt  now  recurs.  There  are  two  ques- 
tions :  First,  how  sin  is  propagated ;  Second,  how  that  which  is  inherited 
can  be  sin.  The  various  theories  of  Stapfer,  Pictet,  Turrettin  and  Edwards 
are  considered,  and  the  whole  difficulty  is  found  to  lie  in  Avhat  to  these 
divines  presents  no  difficulty :  viz. — in  the  imputation  of  guilt.  Respect- 
ing this  second  question,  the  difficulty  is  stated  in  its  fullness.  Then,  by 
way  of  approaching  a  solution,  the  question  is  first  considered,  whether 
hereditary  depravity  can  really  be  sin.  The  views  of  Papists  and  Remon- 
strants, as  represented  by  Bellarmin  and  Limborch,  pass  mider  review ;  also 
those  of  Zwingle,  and  then  of  the  other  Reformed  divines.  Then  the  tes- 
timony of  Scripture  is  taken,  and  arguments  from  Scripture  definitions  of 
sin,  and  from  the  relation  of  inward  principle  to  outward  action,  and  from 
death  behig  the  penalty  of  original  sin,  are  combined  to  prove  that  the  de- 
pravity in  which  we  are  born  constitutes  us  really  guilty  before  God.  Then 
the  testimony  of  our  conscience  concludes  the  argument. 

Touching  the  way  in  which  we  receive  this  corruption  only  two  suppo- 
sitions are  possible :  One,  that  the  sinful  act  which  produced  it  was  our 
own  act ;  the  other,  that  it  was  the  act  of  another. 

The  question  of  ante-mundane  i^robation  is  introduced,  and  Pythagoras, 
Plato,  Origen,  Kant,  Schelling,  Miiller  are  quoted  as  holding  that  theory. 
Two  insuperable  objections  are  brought  against  it,  and  then  it  is  also  shown 
to  be  totally  inconsistent  with  Scripture.  It  is  then  considered  whether 
our  relation  to  Adam  may  not  furnish  a  ground  for  imi^utation.  Adam 
was  our  natural  head,  and  he  was  also  our  federal  head,  and  the  only  point 
to  be  examined  is  whether  this  latter  is  founded  in  justice.  An  affirmative 
conclusion  has  been  reached  on  two  different  grounds  :  1,  that  of  generic 
unity ;  2,  that  of  a  Divine  constitution, 

1.  If  there  was  a  fundamental  unity  between  Adam  and  his  race,  it  is 
clear  that  he  could  justly  be  dealt  with  as  their  federal  head.  He  was  the 
race,  and  could  be  treated  as  the  race  without  any  fiction  of  law.  Plere  we 
see  the  precise  relation  betwixt  the  federal  and  the  natural  unity — the 
former  presupposes  the  latter.  Imputation  harmonizes  the  testimony  of 
conscience.  According  to  the  Scriptures  it  is  immediate  and  not  mediate, 
as  one  class  of  theologians  have  taught.  Two  other  statements  of  the  case 
are  considered,  and  the  conclusion  is  reached  tliat  a  generic  unity  between 


Adam  and  his  sons  is  the  true  basis  of  the  representative  economy  in  the 
Covenant  of  Works. 

2.  The  second  theory  of  an  arbitrary  Divine  constitution  is  summarily 

How  the  individual  is  evolved  from  the  genus  which  contains  it  is  ac- 
knowledged to  be  a  mystery. 

The  theory  of  representation  alone  consists  with  Scripture  and  with  con- 
science  Page  301 



Theological  importance  of  the  doctrine  of  the  Fall.  We  can  know 
neither  ourselves,  nor  God,  nor  the  Redeemer,  without  appreciating  the 
moral  features  of  our  present  ruin. 

I.  The  first  question  is.  What  is  Sin  ?  And  our  first  determinations  of  it 
must  be  objective  ones.  1.  It  is  the  transgression  of  the  moral  law,  and 
this  law  is  concerned  not  only  with  action,  but  also  with  the  will  and  with 
the  dispositions  which  lie  back  of  it ;  with  the  heart  as  well  as  with  the 
life.  2.  It  is  disobedience  to  God.  3.  It  is  the  contradiction  of  God's 

Our  second  determinations  of  sin  are  subjective.  Man's  relation  to  God 
as  the  expression  of  His  will  and  the  product  of  His  power  is  the  true 
ethical  ground  of  right  and  wrong.  The  specific  shape  which  obedience 
must  take  is  supreme  devotion  and  undeviating  conformity.  This  supreme 
devotion  is  expressed  in  Love,  yet  love  does  not,  as  Miiller  supposes,  ex- 
haust the  whole  of  duty  towards  God.  It  is  the  motive,  but  not  the  whole 
object-matter  of  obedience.  Toward  the  creature  Love  is  also  to  be 
grounded  on  the  common  relation  to  the  Creator.  Sin,  therefore — 1,  in- 
volves a  denial  of  dependence  on  God.  2.  The  next  step  is  positive  es- 
trangement from  God.  3.  Then  it  resolves  itself,  thirdly,  into  self-aifirma- 
tion.  The  whole  subjective  determination  of  Sin,  therefore,  may  be  stated 
as  self-afiirmation. 

An  objection  maybe  made  to  this  analysis  from  certain  affections  in  )/f. 
man  which  seem  to  evince  disinterested  love.     And  here  divines  of  New 
England  have  erred,  who  put  self-love  for  the  subjective  determination  of       — 
sin,  and  hold  to  a  reflex  operation  of  the  mind  in  the  case  of  all  those  af- 
fections.    But  the  true  explanation  is  that  those  elementary  principles  are 
a  part  of  our  nature  itself,  and  that  they  exist  back  of  the  will. 

It  is  to  be  noticed  that  both  the  objective  and  the  subjective  determina- 
tions of  Sin  coincide  and  harmonize  in  Selfishness,  which  is  the  root  of  our 
disturbed  moral  life. 

II.  But  there  remains  the  question,  What  is  the  formal  nature  of  Sin  ? 
1.  Some  have  sought  to  ground  moral  distinctions  in  the  Will  of  God,  but 
this  is  itself  grounded  in  His  Nature,  which  is  their  ti-ue  ground.  Tlius, 
they  are  eternal  and  immutable,  and  they  make  us  to  be  like  or  unlike 


God.  2.  Some  ground  them  in  the  tendency  to  make  ourselves  or  others 
happy,  but  this  is  to  ground  them  in  the  creature.  If  grounded  in  any 
tendency  at  all,  it  should  be  in  the  tendency  to  promote  God's  glory. 
But  we  can  neither  know  our  own  good,  nor  the  good  of  others,  nor  the 
glory  of  God,  until  we  know  what  Good  itself  is.  And  the  question  recurs, 
What  is  the  Right?  To  this  question  the  answer  is,  that  the  Eight  is  an 
original  intuition  which  conscience  apprehends,  as  consciousness  the  ex- 
ternal world  and  ourselves.  Conscience  does  not  make,  but  declares  it. 
The  right  is  a  reality,  but  under  manifold  forms,  as  truth,  justice,  benevo- 
lence, temperance ;  and  the  common  relation  of  all  these  to  conscience  is 
grounded  in  their  common  relation  to  the  holiness  of  God.  3.  The  third 
step  is  to  investigate  the  nature  of  Holiness.  It  differs  from  the  right  as  a 
faculty  from  its  object.  It  is  a  subjective  condition.  It  is  not  a  single  at- 
tribute, but  is  an  attribute  of  all  God's  attributes,  and  is  the  fullness  and 
unity  of  His  nature.  In  man  holiness  is  not  a  detached  habit,  but  a  na- 
ture, and  the  Scriptures  illustrate  it  by  life.  It  is  supreme  devotion  to 
God  as  the  supreme  good.  It  is  the  notion  of  the  right  carried  up  to  the 
notion  of  the  good,  and  the  heart  must  respond  to  the  conscience  in  choos- 
ing it.  The  right  and  the  good  are  objectively  the  same,  and  the  same 
subjectively  in  all  holy  things ;  but  not  in  sinners,  for  man  has  lost  the 
perception  of  the  good.  4.  The  fourth  step  is  to  consider  the  nature  of  Sin 
from  the  same  qualitative  point  of  view.  It  is  the  not-right.  The  dis- 
tinction of  privation  and  simple  negation  considered.  The  Augustinian 
doctrine  of  sin  as  privation.  Peter  Lombard  quoted.  The  motive  of  the 
doctrine  with  Augustin  was  to  vindicate  God  from  the  authorship  of  Sin. 
Van  Mastricht,  De  Moor  and  Burmann  quoted.  The  Master  of  the  Sen- 
tences quoted  again.  The  distinction  by  later  theologians  of  Sin  in  the 
concrete  and  in  the  abstract.  An  expression  of  Augustin  explained.  The 
Vitringas  and  Wesselius  referred  to  as  refuting  and  defending  this  theory. 
Objections  to  the  theory  :  (1)  founded  on  a  double  confusion  ;  (2)  fails  of 
the  purpose  for  which  it  was  invented ;  (3)  contradicts  consciousness  and 
requires  an  extravagant  and  shameful  distinction ;  (4)  destroys  all  real 
significance  in  the  creature,  and  abolishes  the  distinction  between  the  effi- 
cient and  the  permissive  decrees.  On  these  grounds  the  theory  must  be 
rejected.  Moral  distinctions  not  exclusively  subjective.  There  is  a  prin- 
ciple of  unity  in  the  life  of  sin  as  there  is  in  the  life  of  holiness.  It  is  op- 
position to  God  ;  it  repudiates  His  authority,  and  it  commits  treason  against 
His  sovereignty. 

This  qualitative  consideration  of  good  and  evil  conducts  to  tlie  same  re- 
sults in  relation  to  the  nature  of  Sin  reached  by  estimating  its  objective 
and  subjective  aspects  regarding  the  law ;  and  the  formal  i)rinciple  of  Sin 
is  seen  to  be  enmity  against  God. 

III.  It  has  been,  assumed  throughout  this  discussion  that  only  a  rational 
being  can  sin,  but  the  precise  conditions  of  responsibility  remain  to  be 
stated.  Holiness  demands  the  living  unity  of  all  our  higher  faculties,  and 
sin  is  the  perversion  of  them  all.     In  particular,  there  is  no  moral  worth 


in  acts  where  tlie  consent  of  the  heart  and  will  is  not  found.  But  the  acts 
and  the  habits  which  are  beyond  the  control  of  a  sinner's  will,  are  they  by 
his  inability  stripped  of  their  sinfulness  ?  A  distinction  must  be  made 
here  between  inability  original  and  inability  penal.  What  the  advocates 
of  what  is  called  natural  ability  really  mean  by  this  term.  Man's  inability 
is  the  result  of  his  own  choice,  and  is  therefore  penal.  He  is  competent 
only  for  Sin,  but  is  held  responsible  for  the  nature  God  gave  to  him ;  and 
the  law  of  God  must  ever  be  the  standard  of  his  life.  To  apostate  creatures 
actual  ability,  therefore,  can  never  be  the  measure  of  obligation.  Two  ap- 
palling facts  of  every  sinner's  consciousness Page  352 



Two  inseparable  properties  or  effects  of  sin — pollution  and  guilt. 

1.  The  notion  of  the  macula  or  stain  of  sin  exhibits  the  connection  of  the 
beautiful  and  the  good,  the  deformed  and  the  sinful.  Ground  of  the  con- 
nection ethical  and  not  aesthetic.  Sin  is  the  real  and  original  ugly,  and  its 
power  to  make  us  disgusting  is  its  jjolluting  power.  As  the  vile  and  mean 
it  makes  ashamed.  Our  sensibility  to  the  estimation  in  which  others  hold 
us  is  a  clear  instance  of  a  moral  administration  carried  on  in  this  life,  and 
the  full  elucidation  of  the  filthiness  of  sin  demands  that  it  be  explained. 
Public  opinion  abashes  us  only  when  it  accords  with  our  inward  senti- 
ments, and  was  designed  to  have  force  only  as  representing  the  judgment 
of  truth.  But  our  own  moral  nature  is  never  alive  to  the  full  shame  of  sin 
so  long  as  we  can  fancy  it  concealed.  At  the  judgment  sin  is  to  be  ex- 
posed, and  a  perpetual  source  of  torture  for  ever  to  the  wicked  will  be  the 
everlasting  contempt  to  which  they  shall  awake. 

2.  Guilt  divided  into  potential  and  actual;  the  one  is  intrinsic  ill  desert, 
the  other  condemnation.  Popularly  it  is  taken  in  the  former,  theologi- 
cally in  the  latter  sense.  The  sense  of  guilt  or  remorse  contains  two  ingre- 
dients— the  conviction  that  sin  ought  to  be  punished,  and  the  conviction 
that  it  will  be  punished.  The  second  conviction  involves  the  other  ele- 
ment of  guilt — that  is,  actual  condemnation ;  for  guilt  in  the  conscience  is  a 
present  sentence  of  death  by  God.  The  punishment  of  sin  is  no  less  neces- 
sary than  certain.  The  object  of  penal  justice  is  not  the  reformation  of  the 
offender,  but  the  vindication  of  law.  Scruples  about  capital  punishment 
always  a  sign  of  moral  degeneracy.  This  account  of  the  sense  of  guilt  in- 
volves two  propositions — first,  one  sin  entails  on  us  a  hopeless  bondage  to 
sin ;  second,  one  sin  involves  endless  punishment.  The  sense  of  guilt  in- 
tolerable now,  but  two  circumstances  in  the  future  will  add  inconceivably 
to  its  terrors — first,  it  will  operate  more  intensely ;  second,  it  will  for  ever 
reproduce  the  past  at  every  moment.  This  illustrated  in  dreams  and  the 
experience  of  persons  drowning.  Nothing  ever  forgotten.  How  shall  the 
lost  tolerate  for  ever  their  own  memory  ? 

The  Scriptures  sustain  these  theological  determinations  of  guilt.     With 


out  this  distinction  of  the  stain  and  the  guilt  of  sin,  we  could  not  under- 
stand Imputation,  nor  the  diflerence  between  Justification  and  Sanctifica- 
tion.  This  distinction  pervades  Scripture  and  lies  at  the  foundation  of  the 
whole  scheme  of  Redemption.  A  distinction  of  guilt  by  Papists  approved, 
but  their  use  of  it  condemned Page  400 



Stoical  parados.  Testimony  of  Scripture.  Jovinian  and  Pelagius. 
Doctrine  of  the  Reformers  and  of  the  Westmmster  Assembly.  Two 
grounds  of  distinction  amongst  sins  :  the  first  is  in  the  object-matter  of  the 
law ;  the  second  in  the  subjective  condition  of  the  agent.  Yet  some  sins 
of  ignorance  reveal  greater  malignity  than  some  sins  against  knowledge. 
The  erring  conscience  necessitates  sin  whether  resisted  or  obeyed,  and  the 
only  remedy  is  spiritual  light.  A  precise  scale  of  iniquity,  like  that  of  the 
Romish  confessional,  preposterous  and  delusive.  Sins  classified  as — 1,  of 
presumption ;  2,  of  ignorance ;  3,  of  weakness — but  all  malignant  and 
deadly.  The  Papal  distinction  of  veiiial  and  mortal  sins.  Protestants  hold 
that  no  sin  is  venial  in  its  own  nature,  yet  all,  save  one,  may  be  cancelled 
by  the  blood  of  Christ.  To  a  very  partial  extent  a  modified  sense  of  the 
Papal  distinction  has  been  adopted  amongst  Protestants.  The  unpardon- 
able sin  is  not  final  impenitency ;  nor  insult  to  the  Person  of  the  Spirit ; 
nor  peculiar  to  the  times  of  the  miraculous  efiusion ;  but  is  sin  agaiiast  the 
Spirit  in  His  oflicial  character Fage  425 


Thought  and  action  neither  contradictories  nor  opposites,  and  the  great 
debater  was  not  unlikely  to  prove  a  great  teacher  of  Theology. 
^yU    The  argument  from  final  causes  for  the  being  of  a  God  as  presented  in 
-I     '   modern  systems  of  Theology  not  only  inconclusive,  but  pernicious.     It 
—         makes  Deity  but  a  link  in  the  chain  of  finite  causes,  and  degrades  the 
Creator  to  the  huge  Mechanic  of  the  world.     Dr.  Breckinridge  gives  to 
final  causes  their  true  place,  which  is  to  set  forth  the  nature  and  the  per- 
fections of  God ; — given  a  Creator,  we  can  deduce  from  them  that  He  is 
intelligent  and  spiritual. 

The  conception  of  this  book  is  the  grandeur  and  glory  of  Theology  con- 
sidered simply  as  an  object  of  speculation,  which  leads  the  author  to  sepa- 
rate the  consideration  of  the  Truth  from  the  consideration  of  its  effects, 
and  also  from  the  consideration  of  errors.  And  it  is  in  this  form  an 
original  conception.  The  clue  to  his  plan  is  the  method  of  the  Spirit  in 
the  production  of  faith. 


Following  Foster  in  part,  Dr.  Breckinridge  argues  illogically  against 

He  concentrates  liis  energies  upon  the  third  book,  which  treats  of  the 
Nature  and  Attributes  of  God.  Tlie  central  ideas  of  his  division  of  these 
are  three:  viz. — Being,  Personal  Spirit  and  Absolute  Perfection,  And 
he  makes  five  classes  of  Attributes,  calling  them  Primary,  Essential,  Na- 
tural, Moral  and  Consummate.  This  division  and  the  nomenclature  criti- 

In  relation  to  the  great  problem  of  modern  philosophy  concerning  the 
Infinite  and  Absolute,  this  work  takes'  very  definite  ground,  and  that 
ground  the  safe  and  true  middle,  that  we  know  the  existence  of  the  Infi- 
nite as  truly  as  of  the  finite,  but  cannot  comprehend  it.  The  views  of 
Cousin,  Hamilton  and  Kant  compared.     Dr.  Breckinridge's  views  quoted  \i 

and  strongly  commended. 

Beginning  with  a  survey  of  man  in  his  individual  and  social  relations, 
and  demonstrating  his  universal  and  irremediable  ruin,  this  treatise  pro- 
ceeds in  a  second  book  to  consider  the  Mediator  in  His  Person,  Offices  and 
Work ;  and  as  in  Christ  only  we  know  God,  the  Divine  character,  perfec- 
tions and  glory  are  the  culminating  points  in  Book  Third.  In  another 
book  the  sources  of  our  knowledge  of  God  are  consecutively  considered, 
and  then  the  fifth  and  last  book  brings  us  back  to  Man  in  his  ruin  and 
misery.  Primeval  Innocence,  the  Covenant .  of  Works,  the  Entrance  of 
Sin,  the  FaU,  Election  and  Eedemption,  are  all  now  discussed  in  sixty 
pages,  the  rigid  method  of  the  author  requiring  that  the  philosophy  of  all 
these  questions  be  remitted  to  his  third  volume,  and  that  now,  for  the 
most  part,  only  the  Scripture  facts  and  doctrines  be  presented. 

The  wish  expressed  that  Dr.  Breckinridge  had  dwelt  more  largely  on 
the  Nature  of  sin,  and  particularly  the  First  sin.  How  a  holy  creature 
could  sin  is  a  profoundly  interesting  question,  and  it  is  to  be  regretted  that 
the  author,  with  his  evangelical  views,  had  not  grappled  with  it  like 
Bishop  Butler,  and  given  us  more  satisfactory  results. 

The  doctrine  of  the  work  respecting  hereditary  depravity  and  imputed     ■ 
guilt  criticised. 

Having  viewed  the  whole  treatise,  the  judgment  is  expressed  that  the 
author  has  realized  his  own  ideal  as  far  as  it  could  possibly  be  done.  The 
unction  of  the  book  is  beyond  all  praise,  and  it  pervades  the  whole. 

The  peculiarities  of  Dr.  Breckini-idge's  teaching  are  thus  seen  to  be  the 
separation  of  dogmatic  from  polemic  Theology,  and  the  concatenation  of 
the  truths  of  religion  upon  the  principle  of  ascent  and  descent,  or  induc- 
tion and  deduction.  The  question  is  now  raised,  whether  Dr.  Breckin- 
ridge's peculiarities  as  a  theological  teacher  should  be  copied,  and  it  is 
answered  in  the  negative. 

In  conclusion,  the  attempt  is  made  to  find  a  central  principle  which 
shall  reduce  to  unity  all  the  doctrines  of  religion,  and  Justification  is  set 

forth  as  that  central  principle Page  445 

Vol.  I.— 2 

_      V 



Ancient  representations,  uninspired  and  inspired,  tliat  God  cannot  be 
known,  and  a  modern  one  that  His  very  essence  is  compreliensibility.  To 
explain  such  contradictory  conclusions,  we  must  understand  what  has  ever 
been  the  problem  of  Philosoi^hy  and  the  methods  by  which  she  has  in- 
vestigated it.  That  problem  is  to  unfold  the  mystery  of  the  universe— 
whence  it  came  and  how  it  was  produced — being  in  itself  and  in  its  laws 
— the  causes  and  the  principles  of  all  things.  In  every  such  inquiry  the 
answer  must  be — God.  But  when  the  further  question  is,  What  is  God,  and 
how  do  all  things  centre  in  Him  ?  difierent  results  are  reached,  according 
to  the  difierent  views  of  the  nature  of  the  universe  and  its  relation  to  its 

Three  ancient  theories  of  the  universe  stated — the  third  one  named 
makes  God  the  essence  of  all  things,  and  they  but  manifestations  of  His 

Modern  speculation  has  pursued  essentially  the  same  track,  but  has 
taken  its  departure  from  a  difierent  point.  The  Material  was  the  ancient 
point  of  departure,  but  the  modern  is  Consciousness.  God  is  made  to  be 
the  complement  of  primitive  cognitions.  Thus  both  ancient  and  modern 
speculation  reduces  everything  to  a  stern  necessity.  Pantheism  and  Posi- 
tivism, however  differing  in  other  respects,  unite  to  deny  a  Personal  God. 

I.  What  is  it  to  be  a  Person  ?  A  simple  and  primitive  belief  is  not  to 
be  defined,  but  we  may  describe  the  occasions  on  which  it  is  elicited  in 
consciousness,  and  the  conditions  on  which  it  is  realized. 

1.  The  first  circumstance  which  distinguishes  this  notion  is  Individualitij. 
Every  instance  of  knowledge  is  the  affirmation  of  a  self  and  a  not-self. 
When  we  assert  the  Personality  of  God,  we  mean  to  assert  that  He  is  dis- 
tinct from  all  other  beings  and  objects. 

2.  Intelligence  and  will  belong  to  the  idea  of  Personality. 

3.  Absolute  Simplicity  is  equally  essential  to  self-hood. 

These  are  the  properties  which  we  affirm  in  maintaining  the  Personality 
of  God.  He  is  an  absolutely  simple  Intelligence,  having  consciousness  and 
will,  who  can  say  "  I  am,"  "  I  will,"  "  I  know,"  and  He  is  not  a  blind 
fatality,  nor  a  mere  necessary  princii^le  or  law. 

Tliis  statement  corrects  the  ignorant  misapprehension  that  person  im- 
plies bodily  figure  or  material  shape.     God  is  a  Personal  Spirit. 

II.  The  difTerence  immense  between  admitting  and  rejecting  such  a 

1.  In  the  field  of  Speculation.  Pantheism  in  every  form  of  it  deduces  all 
from  God  with  rigorous  necessity,  and  makes  all  philosophy  a  priori  and 
deductive.  The  belief  of  God  makes  the  universe  to  be  whatever  He  may 
will,  and  philosophy  becomes  an  inquiry  into  His  designs,  and  the  method 
of  induction  becomes  the  true  and  only  method  of  inquiry.  The  counsel 
of  His  will  then  becomes  the  goal  of  philosophy.  . 


A  comparison  of  what  the  inductive  philosophy  has  accomplished,  with 
the  results  of  Pantheism. 

2.  In  the  field  of  Morals.  Theism  makes  God  a  ruler  and  man  a  sub- 
ject. Pantheism  deprives  us  of  will  and  puts  us  under  inviolable  neces- 
sity. It  annihilates  all  moral  diflerence  of  actions  and  makes  Sin  a  fiction. 
It  is  hostile  to  every  principle  which  holds  society  together,  which  imparts 
to  states  their  authority  and  to  the  family  its  sacredness.  S]jeculations 
which  strike  at  the  Personality  of  God  cannot  be  harmless. 

3.  In  the  field  of  Religion.  To  make  God  everything  can  be  no  better 
than  to  make  Him  nothing.  Piety  is  subverted  when  there  is  no  object 
of  its  regards.  Religion  consists  necessarily  in  veneration  and  love,  whicli 
must  presuppose  a  Person.  The  highest  form  of  religion  is  communion 
with  God.     It  comes  to  an  end  when  you  remove  a  Personal  God. 

4.  As  to  the  credibility  of  Revelation  in  itself  and  in  its  miraculous  cre- 
dentials. Intelligence  and  will  controlling  subordinate  intelligences  may 
well  render  miracles  necessary.  And  then  if  God  be  a  Person,  He  may 
be  expected  to  delight  in  intercourse  with  His  creatures,  for  Personality 
seeks  union Pmje  491 

NATUEE    OF    OUR    RELATION    TO    ADAM    IN    HIS    FIRST    SIN. 

The  central  topic  of  this  book  is  the  doctrine  of  Original  Sin.  It  claims 
to  relieve  the  question  of  hereditary  sin  of  most  if  not  all  of  its  difficulties. 
Acknowledging  its  great  merits  in  other  respects,  it  is  pronounced  in  refer- 
ence to  its  main  design  a  failure.  The  theory  is  a  numerical  identity  of 
nature  between  Adam  and  his  posterity,  so  that  his  sin  is  not  constructively 
and  legally,  but  strictly  and  properly,  theirs.  Generation  communicates 
not  a  like  nature,  but  the  very  same.  The  father  substantially  and  essen- 
tially, though  not  personally,  is  reproduced  in  his  offspring. 

Nothing  new  in  all  this — as  old  as  the  introduction  of  Realism  into 
Theology.  The  book  is  a  reaction  against  the  entire  ciu-rent  of  modern 
thought,  both  in  Theology  and  philosophy — a  formal  protest  against  Nom- 
inalism and  the  spirit  of  the  inductive  philosophy  grounded  in  Nominalism, 
and  also  against  the  received  system  of  orthodoxy  grounded  in  the  same. 
Statement  here  of  the  qualified  sense  in  which  the  author  gives  his  alle- 
giance to  Realism. 

1.  The  first  j^oint  considered  is  Dr.  Baird's  notion  of  nature,  and  it  is 
concluded  to  be  the  bond  of  unity  to  the  whole  race^  sustaining  the  same 
relation  to  human  persons  which  the  substance  of  the  Godhead  does  to  the 
inefiable  Three.     Adam  and  his  posterity  are  one  substance. 

2.  The  next  point  is  the  relation  between  person  and  nature — it  is  that 
of  efiect  and  cause ;  person  is  a  product  of  the  nature.  The  person  is  but 
an  instrument  through  which  the  nature  works,  and  it  is  no  great  thing  to 
be  able  to  say  "  I." 


3.  The  third  point  is  the  law  of  generation,  which,  according  to  the 
author,  is  such  that  the  first  man  is  the  efficient  cause  of  the  existence  of 
all  other  men.  The  reasonings  of  Dr.  Baird  in  relation  to  the  nature  of 
man  resemble  those  of  the  Pantheists  in  relation  to  the  nature  of  God. 
Sundry  difliculties  in  the  way  of  his  theory  of  generation  suggested. 

Upon  these  grounds  the  writer  explains  our  interest  in  Adam's  sin  ;  it 
was  strictly  ours — as  strictly  as  if  committed  in  our  own  persons.  Adam 
was  every  man,  and  so  every  man  sinned  in  Adam.  But  some  other  con- 
clusions will  follow  as  rigidly  as  this  one  :  namely — first,  that  every  man 
is  responsible  for  every  sin  of  Adam,  seeing  that  his  nature  was  implicated 
in  every  sin  of  his  life ;  and  secondly,  that  Adam,  penitent  and  believing, 
must  have  begotten  penitent  and  believing  children,  seeing  that  the  natui'e 
always  flows  from  parent  to  child  as  it  is  in  the  parent. 

The  consequences  of  Dr.  Baird's  theory  to  our  current  theology  are — 

1.  There  is  no  imputation  of  Adam's  sin,  but  his  sin  is  ours,  and  we  are 
held  to  be  actually  guilty  of  it. 

2.  That  the  twofold  relations  of  Natural  and  Representative  head  in 
which  Adam  stood  to  the  species  are  confounded. 

That  the  Reformers  did  not  hold  such  a  theory  is  proved  not  by  quota- 
tions, which  would  require  too  much  room,  but  by  several  considerations 
— among  them  that  they  held  our  sins  to  be  imputed  to  Christ.  Here 
Dr.  Baird  is  forced  to  retract,  and  does  retract  altogether,  his  entire  phi- 
losophy of  guilt  and  punishment. 

Dr.  Baird's  theory  completely  solves  all  difficulties  in  relation  to  heredi- 
tary sin  ;  the  only  difficulty  is  in  that  theory  itself.  Given  a  numerical 
identity  of  nature  transmitted  from  father  to  sons,  and  the  moral  condition 
of  it  in  tlie  one  is  as  inexplicable  as  in  the  other.  But  Adam's  children 
being  not  Adam,  but  themselves,  two  questions  arise  which  have  ever  been 
difficult  to  solve  :  one,  how  that  which  now  and  here  begins  its  being  can 
begin  it  in  a  state  of  sin  without  an  imputation  on  the  character  of  God ; 
the  other,  how  that  which  is  inherent  can  be  our  crime.  Dr.  Baird  exults 
in  the  thought  that  he  has  demolished  the  fortress  of  Edwards  and  his 
disciples,  but  while  their  doctrine  has  difficulties,  his  is  an  absurdity. 

There  are  but  three  hypotheses  supposable :  1,  That  we  had  an  ante- 
mundane  being  and  sinned  then,  which  conditions  our  mundane  liistory ; 
2,  that  we  had  a  being  in  our  substance  and  committed  sin  in  our  sub- 
stance, though  not  in  our  persons ;  3,  that  we  sinned  in  another  standing 
in  such  relations  to  us  as  to  make  us  morally  one  with  him.  The  first  two 
remove  the  difficulty,  but  substitute  a  greater  one.  The  third  is  the 
scheme  of  the  Bible. 

Dr.  Baird's  account  of  the  Covenant  of  Works  seriously  defective. 

His  representations  of  the  propagative  property  of  man  fanciful,  and 
also  degrading  to  the  Divine  image  in  man Page  515 



Discourse  delivered  by  Dr.  Thornwell,  upon    being   inaugxj-  \/ 

RATED  AS  Professor  of  Theology Page  573 

Questions  upon  the  Lectures  in  Theology., Page  5S3 


Analysis   of   Calvin's   Institutes,   with   Notes   and   Comments. 

Page  597 

Questions  on  Calvin's  Institutes Pat/e  642 


Sixteen  Lectures  are  here  given  to  the  Public :  Lecture  I.  Preliminary 
and  setting  forth  the  Nomenclature  and  Scope  of  Theology ;  Lecture  II. 
On  the  Being  of  God  ;  Lecture  III.  On  Man's  Natural  Ignorance  of  God  ; 
Lecture  IV.  On  the  Nature  and  Limits  of  ovir  Knowledge  of  God  ;  Lecture 
V.  On  tlie  Names  of  God ;  Lecture  VI.  On  the  Nature  and  Attributes  of 
God ;  Lecture  VII.  On  the  Spirituality  of  God ;  Lecture  VIII.  On  the 
Incommunicable  Attributes ;  Lecture  IX.  On  Creation ;  Lecture  X.  On 
Man  ;  Lecture  XL  On  Moral  Government ;  Lecture  XII.  On  the  Covenant 
of  Works ;  Lecture  XIII.  On  Original  Sin ;  Lecture  XIV.  On  the  State 
and  Nature  of  Sin ;  Lecture  XV.  On  the  Pollution  and  Guilt  of  Sin ; 
Lecture  XVI.  On  Degrees  of  Guilt. 

Tlie  Author  proposed  to  divide  Theology  into  three  parts :  the  first 
treating  of  God  and  of  Moral  Government  in  its  essential  principles ;  the 
second  of  Moral  Government  as  modified  by  the  Covenant  of  Works ;  and 
the  third  of  the  same,  as  modified  by  the  Covenant  of  Grace.  These  Six- 
teen Lectures  cover  with  tolerable  completeness  the  ground  of  the  first 
two  parts.  Death  cut  short  the  full  execution  of  his  plan.  In  the  good 
providence  of  God,  hoAvever,  it  has  been  so  ordered  that  the  writings  he 
published  during  his  lifetime  may  be  classified  so  as  to  constitute,  in 
connection  with  these  Lectures,  in  some  degree,  a  full  and  systematic  pre- 
sentation of  the  whole  of  Theology,  as  he  conceived  of  that  Science. 

Dr.  Thornwell  prepared  these  Lectures  for  his  classes  in  Theology,  and 
he  wrote  them  all  twice  over,  but  he  did  not  prepare  them  for  the  press. 
This  will  account  for  the  somewhat  fragmentary  appearance  exhibited  in 
the  closing  parts  of  one  or  two  of  them.  Sundry  loose  papers  in  his  hand- 
writing being  found  laid  away  in  some  of  the  Lectures,  and  marked  as 
Addenda,  they  have  been  put  into  brackets  and  inserted,  in  a  different 
type,  in  the  margin  of  the  pages  where  they  seemed  respectively  to  belong. 

At  the  opening  of  Lecture  VIII.  the  Author  speaks  of  his  intention  to 
take  up  the  subject  of  the  Trinity  immediately  after  closing  that  discussion 
of  the  Attributes ;  but  this  promise  was  evidently  forgotten  by  him,  and 
he  proceeds  at  once,  in  the  Ninth  Lecture,  to  the  subject  of  Creation. 
Instruction  to  his  classes  respecting  the  Trinity  was  of  course  given,  Cal- 
vin's Institutes  being  his  text-book. 


Lectures  in  Theology. 



IF  the  place  of  a  science  depends  upon  the  dignity  of  its 
object,  the  worthiness  of  its  ends,  or  the  intensity  and 
purity  of  the  intellectual  energies  it  evokes,  the  science  to 
which  I  am  now  about  to  introduce  you,  must  confessedly 
stand  at  the  head  of  all  human  knowledge.  It  is  conversant 
about  the  sublimest  object,  aims  at  the  noblest  ends,  and 
calls  into  play  the  whole  spiritual  nature  of  man.  Aris- 
totle, from  the  intrinsic  excellence  of  the  being  whose  reality 
and  nature  it  is  its  business  to  investigate,  pronounced  it  the 
first  philosophy  and  the  most  exalted  of  sciences ;  Locke 
places  it  "  incomparably  above  all  the  rest,"  where  it  is  cul- 
tivated according  to  its  own  liberal  and  free  spirit,  and  not 
degraded  "  into  a  trade  or  faction ;"  and  both  Aristotle  and 
Locke  regard  it  "  as  the  comprehension  of  all  other  know- 
ledge," so  that  without  it  all  other  knowledge  is  fragment- 
ary, partial  and  incomplete.  Let  us  briefly  attend  first,  to 
the  nomenclature,  and  then,  to  the  scope  of  this  science. 
I.  Its  common  title  is  Theology  ;  a  word  nowhere  found 
in  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  though  the  simple 

Nomenclature.  p        -..■.,       .  -,  „ 

terms  oi  which  it  is  composed  are  of  not 
unfrequent  occurrence.  As  it  was  not  the  office  of  inspira- 
tion to  present  the  truths  of  salvation  in  a  scientific  form, 



no  more  than  it  is  the  office  of  nature  to  jiresent  the  facts  of 
the  universe  in  a  scientific  form ;  as  God 

Vindication     of    the „l  •  /•  ii.1' 

^,   ,  never  makes  science  tor  us,  but  only  gives 

term  Theology.  '  •'    o 

US  the  data  out  of  which  we  must  construct 
it  for  ourselves ;  it  is  not  to  be  expected  that  a  word  shoukl 
be  found  in  the  Scriptures  designating  a  science  which  it 
was  not  their  function  to  realize.  The  progress  of  specula- 
tion gives  rise  to  technical  terms  in  religion  as  well  as  in 
philosophy ;  and  when  they  have  been  introduced  to  relieve 
an  obvious  need,  they  are  not  to  be  rejected  because  they 
are  not  expressly  written  in  the  Scriptures.  Many  other 
words,  such  as  Original  Sin,  Trinity,  Homoouslan,  and  Pe7'- 
son,  as  applied  to  the  distinctions  of  the  Godliead,  which  the 
necessities  of  controversy  led  the  Church  to  adopt  for  the 
2)urpose  of  fixing  scriptural  truth  and  guarding  against  the 
insinuations  of  error,  are  not  to  be  met  with  in  so  many 
syllables  in  the  Sacred  Volume.  "  They  are  not  there,"  as 
Turrettin  ^  remarks,  "  as  to  sounds  and  syllables,  formally 
and  in  the  abstract ;  but  they  are  there  as  to  sense,  or  the 
thing  signified,  materially  in  the  concrete."  "  AYhere 
names,"  says  Calvin,^  "  have  not  been  invented  rashly,  we 
must  be^vare  lest  we  become  chargeable  with  arrogance  and 
rashness  in  rejecting  them."  And  in  reply  to  those  who, 
like  the  ancient  heretics,  insist  upon  confining  us  to  the 
ipsissima  verba  of  Scripture,  to  the  exclusion  of  all  foreign 
terms,  we  may  adopt  the  language  of  the  same  illustrious 
Reformer  in  another  passage  of  the  same  illustrious  book :  ^ 
"  If  they  call  it  a  foreign  term,  because  it  cannot  be  pointed 
out  in  Scripture  in  so  many  syllables,  they  certainly  impose 
an  unjust  law — a  law  which  would  condemn  every  interpre- 
tation of  Scripture  that  is  not  composed  of  other  words  of 
Scripture."  Equally  judicious  are  the  remarks  of  Owen, 
^\\\o,  though  persuaded  that  Theology  was  not  precisely  the 
term  by  which  the  Christian  Doctrine  should  be  designated, 
was  yet  content  to  waive  his  scruples  and  to  merge  his  diffi- 

1  Loc.  I.,  Quest.  1,  ?  2.  «  i^gt.  Lib.  I.,  c.  xiii.,  |  5. 

^  Lib.  I.,  c.  xiii.,  ?  3. 


culties  into  acquiescence  in  prevailing  usage.  "  Many/' 
says  he/  "pertinaciously  oppose  the  use  of  the  words 
theology  and  theologians.  Inasmuch  as  these  words  have 
been  imported  from  the  heathen,  and  have  no  counterparts 
in  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  it  is  useless  to  debate  about  them 
with  any  great  zeal.  When  a  name  is  too  pompous  and 
imposing  for  the  thing  to  which  it  is  applied,  its  application 
is  injurious ;  and  when  its  use  is  a  question  of  keen  and  in- 
genious disputation,  the  uncertainty  which  attaches  to  the 
name  is  apt  to  be  transferred  to  the  thing.  Moreover,  as 
these  words  have  been  employed  to  designate  an  art  and  a 
class  of  men  skilled  in  it,  inconsistent  with  the  simplicity 
of  the  Gospel,  they  seem,  neither  in  their  origin  nor  use,  to 
be  adapted  to  express  the  Christian  Doctrine  or  its  teachers. 
Still,  as  in  every  inquiry,  the  subject  of  it  must  have  some 
name,  let  us,  with  proper  precautions,  remain  content  with 
that  which  common  consent  has  introduced.  Let  us  only 
be  careful  to  expound  with  accuracy  the  thing  which  the 
name  is  designed  to  represent." 

Among  the  ancient  Greeks,  Theology  was  applied  to  any 

Cage  of  the  term     cbsscrtation,  whcthcr  in  prose  or  poetry,  of 

Theology  among  the     whicli  the  gods  wcrc  the  subjcct.     It  was 

ancient  Greeks.  •  '  <    n      ~         mi      •  i       •         i  ■    ,  i 

Aoyo::  Tie[)t  oeuu.  Iheir  genealogies,  births 
and  works,  their  battles,  amours  and  marriages,  were  all 
called  Theology;  and  the  writers  who  treated  of  these 
matters  were  all  called  Theologians.  Pherecydes  of  Syros 
was  the  first  who  received  the  name.  He  was  the  teacher 
of  Pythagoras,  and  wrote  a  book  the  title  of  which  has  been 
variously  given,  kTzzd/iu-j^oc,  dsoxpama,  deoyovca,  dsoXoyia. 
He  is  said  to  have  been  the  first  person  who  treated  of  such 
subjects  in  prose.  The  poets  and  mythologists,  such  as 
Homer,  Hesiod  and  Orpheus,  were  all,  in  the  Greek  sense 
of  the  term.  Theologians.  Aristotle  was  the  first  to  use 
Theology  in  a  scientific  sense.  He  distributed  speculative 
philosophy  into  three  principal  branches — Physics,  Mathe- 
matics, and  Theology ;  among  which  he  assigned  the  first 

1  Tlieologoum,  Lib.  I.,  c.  1,  I  3. 


place  to  Tlieology,  by  which  he  intended  to  denote  the 
science  of  pnre  existence,  or  the  science  of  being  as  being, 
abstracted  from  all  consideration  of  its  sensible  accidents.^ 
Theology  with  him,  therefore,  was  only  another  name  for 
ontology  or  metaphysics. 

The  Christian  fathers  used   the  term  to  desiji-nate  the 
general  doctrine  concerning  God,  whether 

Patristic  usage.  ° 

essentially  or  j^ersonally  considered.  Any 
one  who  treated  of  God  and  the  Holy  Trinity  was  said  to 
theologixe.  They  applied  it  siDecially  to  the  doctrine  of  the 
Divine  nature  of  Jesus  Christ  in  contradistinction  from 
economy,  dcxovofiia,  the  doctrine  of  His  human  nature. 
Peter  Abelard,  in  the  twelfth  century,  was  the  first  to 
employ  the  term  in  reference  to  the  scientific 

Scholastic  usage.  j.       .'  /»     ,  -,  „         -,.     .  xt 

treatment  of  the  truths  of  religion.  He 
was  followed  by  the  schoolmen,  and  from  them,  with  occa- 
sional protests,  sometimes  against  tlie  term  itself,  and  some- 
times against  the  latitude  of  meaning  allowed  to  it,  it  has 
come  down  to  us. 

It  is  now  used  in  a  wider  or  in  a  narrower  sense.     In  the 

wider  sense,  it  embraces  not  only  a  particular 

Modern  usage.  Wide    discipline,  but  all  the  brauches  of  know- 

sense.  i  ' 

ledge  that  are  tributary  to  it.  It  includes 
whatever  is  necessary  to  fit  the  teacher  of  religion  for  his 
work — apologetics,  hermeneutics,  the  history  of  the  Church 
and  of  doctrines.  Even  pastoral  care  and  the  composition 
and  delivery  of  sermons  are  considered,  in  the  curriculum  of 

study,  as  so  many  departments  of  Theology. 

Narrow  sense.  .  '  .     .  .         ^  "^ 

In  its  narrow  sense,  it  is  restricted  to  a  par- 
ticular science,  the  science  of  Religion. 

Before  proceeding  to  a  more  detailed  account  of  its  nature, 
it  may  be  well  to  apprise  you  of  some  of  the  divisions  and 
distinctions  which  have  been  accustomed  to  be  made. 

The  first  is  that  oi  Archetypal  and  Ectypal.     Archetypal 
theoloffv    has    been    defined    the    infinite 

Ardietypal  and  Ec-  ^'' 

typai.  knowledge  which  God  possesses  of  Himself. 

^  Metaphys.,  vi.  1. 


But  in  this  sense,  it  obviously  cannot  be  the  standard  or 
measure  of  knowledge  to  us.  It  cannot  be  the  pattern  to 
which  ours  has  to  be  conformed.  Omniscience  cannot  be 
separated  from  the  essence  of  God,  and  we  should  have  to 
be  infinite  and  self-existent  ourselves,  before  we  could  know 
as  God  knows.  The  definition  has,  therefore,  been  re- 
stricted by  others^  to  the  standard  existing  as  an  idea  in 
the  Divine  mind  of  the  knowledge  which  God  has  willed 
that  we  should  attain.  He  has  manifested  Himself  to  intel- 
ligent creatures,  and  manifested  Himself  for  the  purpose  of 
being  known.  The  measure  of  knowledge  which  He  thus 
chooses  to  communicate  is  before  Him  as  the  archetype  or 
pattern  in  conformity  Avith  which  ours  must  be  regulated. 
When  thus  conformed  to  the  Divine  ideal,  our  knowledge 
becomes  Ectypal — the  express  image  or  resemblance  of  that 
which  God  has  proposed  as  a  model. 

But  even  in  this  sense,  it  is  evident  that  the  idea  in  the 
divine  mind  can  never  be  the  immediate  standard  of  truth 
to  us.  We  cannot  enter  into  tlie  consciousness  of  God,  and 
therefore  cannot  know  His  thoughts,  as  they  lie  in  His  infi- 
nite understanding,  without  some  medium  of  external  reve- 
lation. They  must,  in  some  way,  be  manifested  or  else  re- 
main for  ever  a  secret  with  Himself.  That  revelation  or 
manifestation  becomes,  accordingly,  our  immediate  stand- 
ard— that  is,  the  archetype  of  which  our  knowledge  must 
be  the  immediate  ectype  or  expression.  "  No  doubt,"  says^ 
Owen,^  "  God  has  in  His  own  mind  an  eternal  idea  or  con- 
cept of  that  truth  which  He  wills  that  we  shall  attain. 
And  upon  this  all  our  theology  depends ;  not  immediately, 
indeed,  but  upon  that  act  of  the  Divine  will  by  which  it  has 
pleased  Him  to  reveal  this  knowledge  to  us.  For  no  one 
has  seen  God  at  any  time ;  the  only-begotten  who  is  in  the 
bosom  of  the  Father,  He  hath  revealed  Him.^  The  revela- 
tion, therefore,  of  the  mind  and  will  of  God — ^that  is,  the 
Word — is  that  doctrine  concerning  which  we  treat,  in  con- 

1  De  Moor,  c.  T.,  ?  7.    See  also  Turrett.,  Loc.  I.,  Quest.  2,  |  7. 
*  Theologoum,  Lib.  I.,  c.  iii.,  §  2.  ^  John  i.  18. 


forinity  with  which  all  our  concepts  of  God,  of  His  worship, 
and  of  the  obedience  due  to  Him,  must  be  framed."  In  other 
words,  the  true  archetypal  theology  is  not  the  idea,  as  a 
thought  or  concept  in  the  mind  of  the  Eternal,  but  that  idea 
as  revealed  and  expressed  in  the  Sacred  Scriptures.  Hence 
archetypal  theology  resolves  itself  into  what  is  called  the 
theologic  principle. 

Theology  has  again  been  divided,  according  to  the  condi- 
union,  Vision,  sta-  ^^o^  ^^^  wliicli  the  possessors  of  it  are  con- 
'^'"°i-  templated,  into  the  Theology  of  Union,  the 

Theology  of  Vision,  and  the  Theology  of  the  Stadium. 

The  Theology  of  Union  is  the  knowledge  of  God  and  of 
His  will  which  pertains  to  the  human  nature  of  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  by  virtue  of  its  personal  union  with  the  eternal 
Word.  This  knowledge,  though  finite,  is  far  more  perfect 
in  degree  than  that  which  any  of  the  saints  can  acquire. 
He  was  anointed  with  the  Spirit  above  measure.  Hence, 
as  implying  the  unction  of  the  Spirit,  it  has  also  been  called 
the  Theology  of  Unction.  The  unction  of  the  Spirit,  how- 
ever, is  common  with  Christ  to  all  believers,  and  though  He 
possesses  it  in  a  larger  measure,  it  is  yet  not  a  term  which 
designates  what  exclusively  belongs  to  Him.  The  Theology 
of  Union  is,  therefore,  the  more  distinctive  phrase.^ 

The  Theology  of  Vision,  called  also  the  Theology  of  the 
Country,  from  heaven  the  dwelling-place  of  the  saints,  and 
the  region  in  which  this  theology  is  enjoyed,  is,  first,  the 
knowledge  which  angels  possess  who  stand  in  the  presence 
of  God ;  and  next,  the  knowledge  which  the  spirits  of  just 
men  made  perfect  possess  when  translated  to  their  heav- 
enly home.^ 

The  Theology  of  the  Stadium  is  that  which  pertains  to  men 
while  strangers  and  pilgrims  in  this  mundane  state.  They 
are  regarded  as  running  a  race ;  the  goal  and  the  ]irize  are 
still  before  them.  It  is  also  called  the  Theology  of  Travel- 
lers, Viatorum,  in  contrast  with  the  theology  of  the  country, 
because  its  possessors  are  contemplated  as  engaged  in  a  jour- 
1  De  Moor,  c.  L,  §  8.  ^  De  Moor,  c.  i.,  §  9. 


ney  to  the  eternal  world.  They  seek  a  city  which  hath 
foundations.  From  the  circumstance,  too,  that  it  is  depend- 
ent upon  study  as  the  ordinary  means  of  acquiring  and  aug- 
menting it,  it  has  received  the  name  of  the  Theology  of 
Study}  This,  of  course,  is  the  only  theology  with  which 
we  have  to  do,  and  when  the  term  is  used  without  a  quali- 
fying epithet,  it  is  this  alone  which  is  meant.  "  The  term," 
says  Turi'ettin,  "  is  equivocally  and  abusively  employed 
when  it  is  applied  to  the  false  theology  of  Gentiles  and 
heretics ;  less  properly  when  predicated  of  the  original  and 
infinite  wisdom  by  which  we  conceive  God  as  knowing 
Himself  in  an  ineffable  and  most  perfect  manner  (for  the 
word  theology  is  not  competent  to  exjjress  the  dignity  of 
this  knowledge),  or  when  applied  to  the  theology  of  Christ 
[that  of  union],  or  the  theology  of  angels ;  it  is  properly  em- 
ployed when  applied  to  the  theology  of  men  as  travellers."^ 
Theology  has  further  been  distinguished  as  Natural  and 
Revealed;    these    epithets    indicating    the 

Natural  and  Revealed.  i   •    i        i 

sources  irom  which  the  knowledo-e  is  de- 
rived.  In  this  sense,  natural  theology  is  that  knowledge 
of  God  and  of  human  duty  which  is  acquired  from  the 
light  of  nature,  or  from  the  principles  of  human  reason, 
unassisted  by  a  supernatural  revelation.  Revealed  theol- 
ogy, on  the  other  hand,  is  that  which  rests  on  Divine  reve- 
lation. This  distinction  is  real,  but  it  is  useless.  There 
are  truths  which  reason  is  competent  to  discover,  as  there 
are  other  truths  which  can  only  be  known  by  a  special  com- 
munication from  God.  But  tlie  religion  of  man  has  never 
been  conditioned  exclusively  by  natural  truth.  In  his  un- 
fallen  condition  he  was  placed  under  a  dispensation  which 
involved  a  supernatural  revelation.  He  has  never  been 
left  to  the  sole  guidance  of  his  reason,  and  therefore  a  mere 
natural  theology,  in  the  sense  indicated,  has  never  been  the 
sufficient  explanation  of  his  state. 

Natural  Theology  has   been  otherwise   defined   in  con- 
tradistinction from  Supernatural,  as  the  science  of  Natural 
1  De  Moor,  c.  i.,  I  10.  2  Lo^.  I.,  Ques.  1,  I  9. 


Religion,  or  the  knowledge  of  that  religion  which  springs 
from  the  relations,  whether  essential  or 
natural™^  ''"'^  ^^^^^'  instituted,  wliicli  subsist  between  God  and 
the  rational  creature.  It  was  the  theol- 
ogy of  Adam  before  the  fall— the  theology  of  the  covenant 
of  M'orks ;  and  though  remnants  of  it  still  linger  in  the 
human  mind,  the  perfect  knowledge  of  it  can  only  be  ob- 
tained from  the  Christian  Scrij^tures.  Supernatural  theol- 
ogy is  the  science  of  salvation — the  doctrines  of  man's 
religion  considered  as  a  sinner  and  as  redeemed  by  the 
mediation  of  Christ.  The  true  contrast,  therefore,  is  not 
that  of  natural  and  revealed,  but  that  of  natural  and  super- 
natural— ^the  natural  indicating  the  religion  of  man  in  one 
aspect ;  the  supernatural,  his  religion  in  another.  Both  are 
equally  revealed.  The  only  difference  is,  that  we  could 
know  absolutely  nothing  of  the  supernatural  without  reve- 
lation, while  we  can  know  something  of  the  natural  by  the 
unassisted  light  of  reason. 

The  distinction  of  theology  into  True  and  False  is  sim- 
ply, as  Turrettin  remarks,  an  abusive  ap- 

Trne  and  False.  i-      x-  J?    i  X^  1  ^^    J 

plication  01  terms,  jbrror  can  be  called 
science  only  by  catachresis.  True  Theology  is  the  only 
theology,  and  the  doctrines  of  Pagans,  Mohammedans  and 
Heretics  receive  the  appellation  in  consequence  of  their  rela- 
tion to.  the  same  general  subjects. 

Theology  has  been  divided,  according  to  its  matter,  into 

TJieoretioal  and  Practical,  or  Dogmatic  and 

Theoretical       and        -,^71  •  i  i     • 

Practical;  Dogmatic      Moral — the  tcrius  111  cach  coutrast  being 
and  Moral.  vlQq^   syiionymoiisly.      The   theoretical   or 

dogmatic  treats  of  the  doctrines  of  religion ;   the  practical 
or  moral,  of  the  graces  and  duties. 

According  to  the  manner  of  treatment,  theology  has  again 

Thetic and  Antithe-     ^ccn  divided  iuto  Thctic  aud  Antithetic;  or 

tic;  or  Didactic  and     Didactic  aud  Polcmic ;    or  Dogmatic  and 

Polemic ;  or  Dogmatic  ,  r^  •  •       i  7-17        1  •  rm 

aud  Polemic,  or  criti-     Fokmic,   OY     Critical,    or    ±jlenctic.       Ine 

cal.orElcnctic.  ^^^^  ^^^^    J^^  ^^^.^^  ^f  ^.J^ggg    COUtrastS,  tlictic, 

didactic,  dogmatic,  implies  that  the  doctrines  are  discussed 


without  reference  to  the  controversies  to  which  they  have 
given  rise.  The  design  is  simply  to  state,  to  prove  and  to 
ilhistrate  the  truth.  The  second  term,  antithetic,  j^olemic, 
critical,  elenetic,  implies  that  the  errors  of  heretics  are  dis- 
tinctly refuted.  The  mode  of  treatment  is  controversial. 
The  two  methods  are  often  combined,  and  the  theology  is 
then  called  didactico-polemical,  or  dogmatico-polemical,  or 
elenetic.  It  may  be  well  to  remark  that  the  phrase  dog- 
matic theology  does  not  always  bear  the  sense  assigned  to  it 
above.  The  word  oojua  may  signify  either  an  opinion  con- 
cerning a  doctrine  or  the  doctrine  itself.  In  the  former 
sense,  dogmatic  theology  is  the  history  of  opinions  concern- 
ing the  doctrines  of  religion.  In  the  latter  sense,  it  is  the 
scientific  statement  of  the  doctrines  themselves.  In  the 
former  sense,  it  is  principally  used  in  the  Church  of  Rome, 
and  was  so  employed  by  Protestant  writers  until  the  com- 
mencement of  the  eighteenth  century.^ 

Theology  may  be  considered  as  a   habit  of  knowledge 
resident  in  the  mind,  or  as  a  body  of  truth 

Sulijective  and  Ob-  ,  j.'ll  l  Txi^f 

.  ^jj^.p  systematically  arranged.      in   tiie    lormer 

aspect    it    is    called    Habitual,    Subjective, 

Concrete  and    Utens ;  in  the  latter  it  is  Objective,  Abstract, 

Systematic  and  Docens. 

Theology  has  again  been  distinguished  with  reference  to 
the  order  and  arrangement  of  its  contents. 

Scholastic  and  Posi-  l     j.i  i       j.    i  j?     t  •  '     i 

ti^g  and    the   general  style  ot   discussion,  into 

Scholastic  and  Positive.  "The  positive," 
says  Marck,^  "  is  not  rigidly  restricted  to  logical  rules.  The 
scholastic  proceeds  in  a  method  more  truly  disciplinary,  a 
most  useful  and  ancient  institution."  "  Positive  and  scho- 
lastic are  not  to  l)e  distinguished  from  each  other,"  says  De 
Moor,^  "  as  if  the  one  were  conversant  about  the  exposition 
of  Scripture,  and  the  other  a  treatise  of  doctrines  and  com- 
monplaces. For  doctrines  are  obviously  to  be  treated  in 
the  exposition  of  Scripture,  and  commonplaces  and  doc- 
trines must  depend  upon  the  genuine  sense  and  authority 
^  Knapp,  vol.  i.,  p.  28,  29.  ^  Medull.  I.,  xxv.  ^  Comment.,  c.  i.,  xxv. 
Vol.  I.— 3 


of  Scripture.  The  true  distinction  is  that  Positive  Theology 
is  not  strictly  confined  to  logical  rules ;  it  gives  itself  more 
oratorical  freedom  of  style.  Scholastic  Theology  proceeds 
in  a  method  more  disciplinary  [more  strictly  adapted  to 
teaching]  and  reduces  Divine  truths  to  certain  heads  accord- 
ing to  the  rules  of  logic  for  the  use  of  Christian  schools." 

It  must  be  remembered  that  Marck  and  De  Moor  were 
both  advocates  of  the  Scholastic  Theology,  and  have  conse- 
quently failed  to  j3oint  out  its  most  objectionable  feature. 
Its  great  defect  was  not  its  logical  method,  nor  its  contempt 
of  the  embellishments  of  rhetoric,  but  the  manner  in  which 
it  used  its  method.  It  gave  no  scope  to  the  play  of  Chris- 
tian feeling ;  it  never  turned  aside  to  reverence,  to  worship 
or  adore.  It  exhibited  truth,  nakedly  and  baldly,  in  its  ob- 
jective reality,  without  any  reference  to  the  subjective  con- 
ditions which,  under  the  influence  of  the  Spirit,  that  truth 
was  calculated  to  produce.  It  was  a  dry  digest  of  theses 
and  propositions — perfect  in  form,  but  as  cold  and  lifeless  as 
a  skeleton.  What  it  aimed  at  was  mere  knowledge,  and  its 
arrangements  were  designed  to  aid  intelligence  and  memory. 
A  science  of  religion  it  could  not  be  called. 

The  most  perfect  examples  of  this  method — those  who,  in 
the  Reformed  Church,  have  been  called,  by  way  of  emi- 
-mence,  Scholastics — are  the  divines  of  the  Dutch  school.  It 
reached  its  culmination  in  Gisbert  Voetius.^ 

There  arose  in  the  same  school  in  the  time  of  Voetius 

another  class  of  divines  who,  from  their  method  of  treating 

the  truths  of  religion,  were  distinguished  as   Federalists.^ 

The  celebrated  Cocceius  was  the  founder 

Federalists.  /.      i   .  ^  .  i   •         t      •     i 

01  this  class.  Among  his  disciples  are 
ra*iked  Burmann,  Braun  and  Witsius.  The  regulative 
principle  of  their  method  was  the  doctrine  of  the  Cove- 
nants. They  consequently  treated  religion  according  to  the 
historical  develoj)raent  of  the  covenants,  and  infused  into 
their  works  a  decidedly  subjective,  experimental  s])irit. 
The  true  method  of  Theology  is,  no  doubt,  a  combination 

1  Ebrards'  Cliristl.  Dogmat.  Abs.,  ii.,  ^  39.  ^  Id.,  ^  40. 


of  the  Scholastic  and  Positive.  Truth  must  be  exhibited 
warm  and  glowing  from  the  fullness  of  the  Christian  heart. 
It  must  be  not  nakedly  truth,  but  truth  according  to  god- 
liness. The  writer  must  know  it,  because  he  has  been 
taught  by  the  Spirit  and  feels  its  power.  This  living  con- 
sciousness of  its  preciousness  and  sweetness  and  glory  is 
absolutely  essential  to  save  a  system  from  the  imputation  of 
a  frozen  formalism.  There  must  be  method,  but  method 
without  life  is  a  skeleton.  Infuse  life,  and  you  have  a  noble 

It  may  be  well  to  guard  you  against   confounding   the 
Reformed    Scholastics    with    those    of   the 

Romish  Scholasticism.  /«  t->  mi 

Church  of  Rome.  They  had  this  in  com- 
mon, that  they  were  slaves  to  a  logical  method.  But  they 
differed  widely  in  the  source  from  wdiich  they  derived  their 
materials,  and,  of  course,  in  the  nature  of  the  materials 
themselves.  The  Reformed  Scholastics  acknowledged  Scrip- 
ture as  the  only  infallible  rule  of  faith  and  practice.  Their 
problem  was  to  digest,  under  fit  and  concatenated  heads,  the 
doctrines  and  nothing  but  the  doctrines  of  Scri^iture,  with 
the  inferences  that  lawfully  follow  from  them.  The  Scho- 
lastic Theology  of  Rome,  on  the  other  hand,  received  as 
authoritative,  in  addition  to  Scripture,  the  opinions  of  the 
Fathers,  the  Decrees  of  Councils,  the  Bulls  of  Popes,  and 
even  the  philosophy  of  Aristotle.  It  is  commonly  divided 
into  three  periods:  1.  The  period  of  its  rise.  It  began  in 
the  twelfth  century  with  Peter  Lombard's  Four  Books  of 
Sentences,  in  which  he  compendiously  arranges  the  Theologv 
of  his  time  under  Distinctions  and  Sentences,  taken  for  the 
most  part  from  Hilary,  Ambrose  and  Augustin.  The  First 
book  treats  of  God,  His  Unity  and  Trinity;  the  Second 
treats  of  Creation,  particularly  the  creation  of  angels  and 
men,  of  Free  Will,  Divine  Grace,  and  of  Sin,  both  native 
and  actual ;  the  Third  treats  of  the  Incarnation,  of  Redemp- 
tion, of  Faith,  Hope,  Charity,  and  of  the  Ten  Command- 
ments ;  the  Fourth  treats  of  the  Sacraments  and  of  Escha- 
tology.     2.  The  second  period  is  signalized  by  the  writings 


of  Albertus  Magnus,  wlio  introduced  the  philosophy  of 
Aristotle  as  a  principle  or  source  of  authoritative  truth  in 
questions  of  Tlieology.  He  flourished  in  the  thirteenth 
century,  and  such  was  his  industry  that  his  published  works 
fill  twent}^-one  folio  volumes.  To  the  same  period  belongs 
Thomas  Aquinas,  the  celebrated  pupil  of  Albert,  who,  in  his 
great  work,  the  Summa  Theologice,  brought  the  Scholastic 
Theology  to  perfection.  3.  The  third  period  begins  in  the 
fourteenth  century,  and  may  be  characterized  as  the  period 
of  frivolous  discussions.  This  was  the  age  of  Durandus,  the 
Doctor  Resolutissimus,  and  of  the  still  more  celebrated  Duns 
Scotus,  the  Doctor  Subtilissimus. 

II.  Having  adverted  to  these  preliminary  distinctions  in 
order  that  you  may  be  at  no  loss  to  under- 

Scope  of  the  Scieuce.  •   i       i 

stand  them  whenever  you  meet  with  them 
in  your  reading,  I  now  proceed — 1,  to  define  the  science  ac- 
cording to  my  own  conception  of  its  nature ;  2,  to  develoj) 
the  plan  upon  which  these  Lectures  shall  be  prosecuted  ;  and 
3,  to  indicate  the  source  from  which  our  knowledge  must  be 
authoritatively  derived. 

1.  I    accept   the   definition,   now   generally   given,    that 

Theology  is  the  science  of  religion ;  that  is. 

Definition  of  Theology.        ,.■,'"  (,    -,  ...■,,■• 

it  IS  the  system  ot  doctrine  m  its  logical 
connection  and  dependence,  which,  when  spiritually  dis- 
cerned, produces  true  piety.  There  is  a  twofold  cognition 
of  Divine  truth — one  natural,  resulting  from  the  ordinary 
exercise  of  our  faculties  of  knowledge,  and  the  other  super- 
natural or  spiritual,  resulting  from  the  gracious  illumination 
of  the  Holy  Ghost.  The  habit  which  corresponds  to  the 
first,  like  every  other  habit  of  science,  is  mere  speculative 
knowledge.  The  habit  which  corresponds  to  the  other  i.s 
true  religion.  The  doctrine,  to  use  the  expressive  analogy 
of  St.  Paul,^  is  the  mould,  and  religion  the  image  that  it 
leaves  upon  the  heart,  which  the  Spirit  has  softened  to  re- 
ceive the  impression.  There  is,  first,  the  truth,  and  that  is 
theology ;  there  is  next  the  cordial  and  spiritual  apprehen- 
1  Eom.  vi.  17. 


sion  of  it,  and  that  is  the  obedience  of  faith,  which  is  synon- 
ymous with  true  religion.  In  other  words,  the  truth  object- 
ively considered  is  Theology ;  subjectively  received,  under 
Divine  illumination,  it  is  religion.  In  relation  to  religion, 
therefore,  Theology  is  a  science  only  in  the  objective  sense. 
It  denotes  the  system  of  doctrine,  but  not  the  mode  of  ap- 
})rehension.  The  cognition  which  produces  the  subjective 
habit  to  which  Theology  corresponds  is  not  knowledge,  but 
faith ;  and  depends,  not  upon  speculation,  but  upon  the  Word 
and  the  Spirit  of  God.  It  knows,  not  for  the  purpose  of 
knowing,  but  for  the  purpose  of  loving. 

Some  have  been  unwilling  to  concede  to  Theology  the 
title  of  Science,  partly  on  the  ground  above 

Objections  to  calling        -Tiijiiii        ii-j  t  j       -i 

it  a  Science.  indicated,  that  the  habit  corresponding  to  it 

is  not  natural,  but  supernatural ;  and  partly 
on  the  ground  that  it  does  not  spring  from  principles 
of  reason,  nor  proceed  by  logical  deductions.  It  does  not, 
in  other  words,  find  a  place  under  the  Aristotelic  definition 
of  science.  These  objections  are  easily  discharged.  The 
first  is  obviated  at  once  by  the  simple  consideration  that 
science  is  used  only  in  an  objective  sense.  And  surely  no 
one  will  deny  that  revealed  truths  constitute  a  logical  and 
coherent  system.  They  are  mutually  dependent  and  con- 
nected, and  capable  of  being  digested  under  concatenated 
heads.  They  form  a  true  theory  of  religion.  In  the  next 
place,  it  is  not  to  be  overlooked  that  there  is  a  natural 
knowledge  of  theology  which  is  pure  science ;  which  rests  in 
speculation ;  which  knows,  according  to  the  familiar  adage, 
only  that  it  may  know.  This  natural  knowledge  is  the  in- 
strument of  spiritual  cognition.  It  is  the  seed  which  the 
Holy  Spirit  quickens  into  vital  godliness.  We  must  first 
know  as  men  before  we  can  know  as  renewed  men.  Theol- 
ogy, as  thus  ending  in  speculation  or  in  theory,  can  be 
taught,  but  religion  must  be  implanted. 

As  to  the  other  objection,  it  may  be  replied  that  science 
should  not  be  arbitrarily  restricted  to  systems  excogitated 
by  the  wit  of  man.     As  one  science  may  begin  from  prin- 


ciples  demonstrated  in  another,  so  there  is  no  reason  why 
that  shoukl  not  be  denominated  a  science  which  is  logically 
constructed  from  the  data  of  faith.  We  may  as  readily 
accept  from  revelation  as  from  the  intuitions  of  reason  our 
first  principles.  In  each  case  we  begin  with  the  indemon- 
strable and  the  given.^ 

AVith  these  explanations  and  distinctions,  it  is  easy  to 
solve  the  difficulty  which  has  been  raised  as  to  the  question 
whether  theology  is  a  speculative  or  practical  science — whe- 
ther its  end,  in  other  words,  is  knowing  or  doing.  Emi- 
nent divines  have  pronounced  it  to  be  practical,  on  the 
ground  that  truth  is  in  order  to  godliness,  or  that  the  end  of 
the  doctrine  is  the  sanctification  of  the  heart.  But  it  must 
be  recollected  that  it  is  not  as  science  that  the  truth  sancti- 
fies. It  is  not  the  doctrine  which  transforms  by  its  own 
inherent  and  native  energies,  but  the  Spirit  by  a  power 
beyond  the  truth,  and  of  which  the  truth  is  only  the  instru- 
ment.    If  the  question  be,  however,  whe- 

Nature  of  Religion.  -,,.-,  ■,  ■,  > 

ther  religion,  the  supernatural  product  of 
the  truth,  is  speculative  or  practical,  the  answer  is,  that  it  is 
exclusively  neither.  It  is  not  cognition  alone,  neither  is  it 
action  alone,  nor  feeling  alone.  It  pertains  exclusively 
neither  to  intelligence,  emotions  nor  will,  but  it  is  a  pecu- 
liar state,  a  condition  of  life  in  which  all  are  blended  in  in- 
dissoluble unity.  It  is  at  once  love,  obedience  and  know- 
ledge. Spiritual  cognition  is  not  bare  knowledge,  but  it  is  a 
state  of  the  soul  which  involves  all  the  energies  of  our  be- 
ing. It  knows  by  loving  and  loves  by  knowing.  It  dis- 
cerns and  feels  by  the  same  operation.  It  is  a  form  of 
spiritual  life  which  includes  and  fuses  the  intellectual,  the 
active  and  the  emotional  elements  of  our  nature.  It  is  the 
health  of  the  wdiole  soul,  the  consummation  and  perfection  of 
our  being ;  or,  as  Solomon  expresses  it,^  "  the  whole  of  man." 
Here  our  faculties  all  centre  and  rest  with  the  fullness  and 
satisfaction  of  unimpeded  exercise.     To  know  is  not  relig- 

1  Thos.  Aquin.,  Sum.  Pars  Prima,  Quest.  1,  Art.  2. 

2  Eccles.  xii.  13. 


ion,  to  feel  is  not  religion,  to  do  is  not  religion  ;  bnt  to  know 
by  a  light  which  at  once  warms  and  enlightens,  which  makes 
us,  at  the  same  time  and  in  the  same  energy,  know  and  feel 
and  do — that  is  eternal  life — the  life  of  God  in  the  soul  of 
man.  Logically,  we  can  discriminate  the  elements  which 
enter  into  this  unity,  but  really,  they  can  never  be  divided  or 
separated  in  the  exercises  of  true  religion.  We  can  distin- 
guish, but  we  cannot  disjoin. 

As  religion  involves  in  unity,  cognition,  emotion  and  will, 
there  must  be  some  object  in  which  the 
qualities  adapted  to  these  functions  and 
energies  are  indissolubly  united.  There  must  be  some  object 
which  at  once  presents  truth  to  the  understanding,  beauty 
and  grandeur  to  the  emotions,  and  rectitude  to  the  will. 
There  must  be  some  object  in  which  they  become  one,  as 
religion  is  a  subjective  unity  in  which  they  are  inseparably 
blended.  There  must  be  an  outward  corresponding  to  the 
inward.  That  object  is  God.'  He  is  at  once  the  true,  the 
beautiful,  the  good.  As  the  true.  He  addresses  Himself  to 
the  intelligence,  as  the  beautiful  to  the  emotions,  as  the  good 
to  the  will.  He  must  be  known,  and  known  by  spiritual  cog- 
nition, or  there  is  no  religion.  "  This  is  life  eternal,"  said 
the  Divine  Teacher,^  "  that  they  might  know  Thee,  the  only 
true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ  whom  Thou  hast  sent."  He,  in 
what  we  are  able  to  know  of  His  character,  perfections  and 
works,  is  the  object  of  all  religion.  His  will,  in  its  purity 
and  holiness,  is  the  measure  of  all  duty,  and  His  glory  the 
standard  of  all  beauty.  He  is  absolutely  one ;  and  truth, 
beauty  and  holiness  are  one  in  Him,  and  therefore  one  in 
the  spiritual  energies  which  they  evoke  in  us.  It  is  of  the 
highest  importance  to  understand  that  religion  is  not  wholly 
subjective  and  one-sided.  It  is  not  a  vague  sense  of  depend- 
ence, nor  a  blind  craving,  nor  an  indefinite  feeling  of  emp- 
tiness and  want.  It  consists  of  determinate  states  of  con- 
sciousness, which  can  be  logically  discriminated  as  those  of 
intelligence,  emotion  and  will ;  and  these  states  are  condi- 
^  Aquin.,  Sum.  Pars  Prima,  Quest.  1,  Art.  7.  ^  John  xvii.  3. 


tioiied  by  conscious  relations  to  an  outward  object.  There 
can  be  no  religion  without  truth ;  there  can  be  no  religion 
without  love;  there  can  be  no  religion  without  the  spirit 
of  obedience.  There  must,  therefore,  be  something  known ; 
something  perceived  as  beautiful ;  something  acknowledged 
as  supreme.  There  must  be  a  determinate  object  or  quality 
for  each  department  of  our  nature.  If  religion  did  not  de- 
mand determinate  cognitions,  emotions  and  volitions,  dis- 
tinct exercises  of  the  spiritual  nature  conditioned  by  an 
object  suited  to  elicit  them,  a  man  might  be  justly  called 
religious  whatever  he  believed,  however  in  other  respects  he 
felt,  or  however  he  acted,  if  inwardly  he  cherished  the  sen- 
timent of  vague  dependence  and  want  into  which  the  advo- 
cates of  exclusive  subjectivism  resolve  the  essence  of  j)iety. 
It  would  signify  nothing  wdiether  he  believed  in  one  God 
or  a  thousand,  whether  he  worshipped  stocks  or  stones,  or 
the  figments  of  his  own  mind;  as  long  as  he  possessed 
a  certain  indescribable  subjective  state,  he  could  be  called 
truly  religious. 

In  our  notion  of  religion,  therefore,  there  are  two  errors 
which  we  must  seek  to  avoid.  The  first  is,  that  it  is  a  com- 
bination of  separable  habits ;  that  the  knowledge,  love  and 
obedience  involved  in  it  are  successive  states,  which  may  be 
disjoined  from  each  other,  but  which  in  their  coexistence 
constitute  piety.  This  is  a  mistake.  Spiritual  cognition 
includes  the  perception  of  the  beautiful  and  the  good.  The 
same  energy  wdiich  knows  God  unto  salvation  knows  Him 
in  the  unity  of  His  being  as  the  perfection  of  truth,  beauty 
and  holiness.  The  perception  of  His  glory  is  the  effulgence 
of  this  unity. 

The  second  error  is,  that  religion  can  be  understood  apart 
from  its  object.  It  must  be  distinctly  recognized  as  condi- 
tioned and  determined  by  the  object.  It  is  the  nature  and 
relations  of  the  object  which  make  it  what  it  is.  The  know- 
ledge of  God,  therefore,  as  a  manifested  object,  is  the  indis- 
pensable condition  of  all  true  religion.  The  subjective 
states,  as  conditioned  by  this  object,  differ  from  analogous 


subjective  states,  as  conditioned  by  other  objects,  in  the  cir- 
cumstance that  in  the  one  case  they  are  or  ought  to  be  in- 
dulged without  measure ;  in  the  other,  under  limitations 
and  restrictions.  An  infinite  being  demands  the  homage  of 
the  whole  soul ;  a  finite  being,  a  homage  graduated  accord- 
ing to  the  degree  of  its  excellence.  We  must  love  a  creature, 
and  trust  a  creature,  with  a  moderated  confidence  and  love. 
We  must  love  God  and  trust  God  with  the  whole  soul, 
strength,  and  heart.  Religion,  in  other  words,  contemplates 
its  object  as  the  infinite  and  the  absolutely  perfect.  It  is 
this  quality  of  the  object  which  determines  the  peculiar 
character  of  our  religious  energies. 

2.  Man  being  the  subject  and  God  the  object  of  religion, 
it  is  evident  that  we  can  never  hope  to  un- 

The  Plan   of   these       ^lerstaud      itS     doctriuCS     without      kuowiug 
Lectures.  o 

something  of  both  terms  of  this  relation. 
Calvin  was  right  in  resolving  true  wisdom  into  the  know- 
ledge of  God  and  of  ourselves.  It'  is  the  relations  betwixt 
us  on  which  religion  hinges.  God  must  be  given,  man 
given,  and  the  relations  between  them  given,  in  order  to 
construct  a  solid  science  of  Theology.  It  is  further  evident 
that  these  relations  are  either  such  as  spring  from  the  very 
nature  of  the  beings,  giving  rise  to  duties  and  obligations, 
on  man's  part,  that  are  essential  and  unalterable ;  or  such 
as  have  been  instituted  by  the  positive  will  of  the  Creator. 
Given  God  as  Creator  and  Moral  Ruler,  and  there  necessa- 
rily emerges  a  moral  government,  or  a  government  adminis- 
tered on  the  principle  of  distributive  justice.  Rectitude  to 
a  moral  creature  becomes  the  natural  and  unchanging  law 
of  its  being.  God,  however,  in  His  goodness,  may  transcend, 
though  He  can  never  contradict,  the  principle  of  justice. 
He  may  do  more,  though  He  can  never  do  less,  than  simple 
equity  demands.  If  He  should  choose  to  institute  a  dispen- 
sation under  which  a  greater  good  than  we  had  any  right 
or  reason  to  expect  is  held  out  to  us,  the  nature  of  this  dis- 
pensation would  have  to  be  considered  in  treating  of  the 
doctrines  of  religion ;  and  if  more  than  one  such  disjiensation 


^  were  established,  each  would  have  to  be  considered,  and  con- 
sidered in  its  historical  development,  in  determining  the  re- 
lations which  condition  religion.  Religion  never  contem- 
plates its  object  absolutely,  but  in  relation  to  us ;  and  insti- 
tuted relations  are  as  real,  and  give  rise  to  as  real  duties,  as 

The  Scriptures  assure  us  that  two  such  dispensations  ha\'e 
been  instituted,  aiming  at  the  same  general  end,  but  contem- 
plating man  in  different  states  or  conditions,  and  therefore 
accomplishing  the  result  by  different  means.  One,  called 
the  Covenant  of  Works,  contemplates  man  as  a  moral  being, 
able  to  obey  and  fulfil  the  will  of  the  Creator ;  the  other, 
called  the  Covenant  of  Grace,  contemplates  man  as  a  fallen 
being,  a  sinner,  incapable  of  propitiating  the  favour  of  God. 
Both  contemplate  the  exaltation  of  man  to  a  higher  condition 
of  being,  to  the  adoption  of  sons  into  God's  family. 

A  complete  Treatise  of  Theology,  according  to  these  state- 
Answering  to  a  ments,  must  fall  into  three  parts:  (1.)  The 
Thieefoui  Division  of     dcvclopment   of    tliosc    csscutial    rclations 


betwixt  God  and  man  out  of  which  arises 
a  moral  government,  together  with  an  exposition  of  the  fun- 
damental principles  of  such  a  government.  This  part, 
embracing  the  being  and  character  of  God,  the  original  state 
of  man,  and  his  natural  duties  and  obligations,  might  be 
called  Preliminary,  or  Introductory.  (2.)  The  development 
of  the  modification  of  moral  government  in  its  principle  and 
application,  as  realized  in  the  Covenant  of  Works.  This 
part  might  be  called  Natural  Religion,  as  it  treats  of  the 
form  in  Avhich  man  became  related  to  God  immediately 
upon  his  creation.  (3.)  The  development  of  the  Covenant 
of  Grace  or  the  scheme  of  Redemption.  This  part  may  be 
called  Supernatural  Religion,  or  the  Religion  of  Grace,  and 
embraces  all  that  is  peculiar  to  Christianity.  To  state  the 
same  thing  in  another  form :  the  first  part  treats  of  God  and 
of  moral  government  in  its  essential  principles ;  the  second 
part  treats  of  moral  government  as  modified  by  the  Covenant 
of  Works ;  the  third  part  treats  of  moral  government  as 


modified  by  the  Covenant  of  Grace.  The  point  of  unity 
between  the  two  covenants  is  their  concurrence  in  a  common 
end ;  the  point  of  divergence,  the  different  states  in  which 
man  is  contemplated.  Both  are  answers  to  the  question, 
How  shall  man  be  adopted  into  the  family  of  God  ?  But 
the  Covenant  of  Works  answers  it  with  reference  to  man  as 
a  moral  creature,  in  a  state  of  integrity ;  the  Covenant  of 
Grace  answers  it  with  reference  to  man  as  a  sinner,  under 
the  condemnation  of  the  law.  These  three  divisions  seem 
to  me  to  exhaust  the  whole  subject  of  Theology. 

3.  We  come  now  to  the  question,  Whence  are  we  to  de- 
rive the  truths  of  Theology,  and  how  are 
ledgTrTheZgy""  ^c  to  kuow  that  they  are  truths?  that  is, 
What  are  their  sources,  and  what  is  their 
measure  ?  It  is  the  question  concerning  what  is  called  the 
Principle  of  Theology.  Three  answers  have  been  given — 
that  of  the  Romanist,  that  of  the  Rationalist,  and  that  of  the 
orthodox  Protestant. 

The  principle  of  the  Romanist  is  the  authority  of  the 
Church.  Nothing,  in  the  sphere  of  religion, 
mruis"^'*^ °^ ^'"^ ^"  ^^  ^^  ^®  accepted  as  true  or  received  as  an 
article  of  faith,  which  has  not  been  proposed 
and  defined  by  the  Church.  She  still  retains  the  Apostolic 
commission,  and  is  the  onlv  accredited  orran  of  God's 
Spirit  for  the  instruction  of  mankind  in  all  that  pertains  to 
life  and  godliness.  Her  voice  is  heard,  first,  in  the  Scrip- 
tures, which  are  not  only  received  upon  her  testimony,  but 
are  dependent  upon  her  authority  for  their  right  to  regulate 
the  faith  and  practice  of  mankind.  They  are  absolutely 
nothing  except  as  she  endorses  them  and  interprets  them. 
She  speaks,  in  the  next  place,  through  the  tradition  of  the 
Fathers ;  and,  finally,  through  the  writings  of  Doctors,  the 
decrees  of  Councils,  and  the  bulls  of  Popes.  The  Church, 
in  this  view,  is  the  Supreme  Oracle  of  God.  She  is  the  final 
depository  and  infallible  teacher  of  all  the  truth  that  pertains 
to  the  salvation  of  a  sinner.  She  occupies  precisely  the  place 
which  the  apostles  occupied  in  the  first  age  of  Christianity. 


It  is  needless  to  say  that  the  Theology  which  thus  emerges 
is  a  stiff  and  lifeless  body.  Its  members  are  mechanically 
joined  without  the  organic  unity  of  life.  It  is  a  digest  of 
aphorisms  and  dicta,  dry  as  a  skeleton  and  cold  as  an  iceberg. 
The  whole  theory  misconceives  the  office  and  functions  of 
the  Church.  She  is  the  product  and  not  the  principle  of 
truth,  and  her  own  claims  must  be  vindicated  on  the  same 
grounds  on  Avhich  every  other  article  of  faith  ultimately 
rests.  The  thcologic  principle  must  lie  back  of  her,  or  she 
could  never  be  recognized  as  the  institute  of  God.  The 
truth  has  made  her,  she  has  not  made  the  truth.  She  is  a 
teacher,  it  is  true,  but  she  teaches  only  as  she  has  been 
taught ;  and  the  principle  of  Theology  must  be  sought  in 
the  principle  upon  which  she  proposes  the  doctrines  that  she 
teaches.  While,  however,  the  Church  is  not  to  be  accepted 
as  an  arbiter  of  faith,  Ave  must  avoid  the  opposite  extreme 
of  treating  her  instructions  with  levity  and  indifference,  as 
if  she  were  entitled  to  no  more  respect  than  a  private 
teacher.  Her  testimony  is  a  venerable  presumption  in 
favour  of  the  Divine  authority  of  all  that  she  proposes. 
As  an  organic  body,  having  an  historical  existence  grounded 
in  great  truths,  having  an  historic  life  implicated  in  these 
truths — as  she  has  grown  out  of  them  and  sprung  from 
them — it  is  obvious  that  they  must  have  pervaded  the  con- 
sciousness of  her  children,  and  that  her  testimony  to  them 
is  entitled  to  a  respect  analogous  to  that  Avhich  attaches  to 
states  and  empires  concerning  their  origin,  their  constitu- 
tion and  their  government.  The  Church  is  not  an  accidental 
society  that  owes  its  existence  to  the  voluntary  compact  of 
its  members.  It  is  not  a  mere  political  or  moral  organiza- 
tion. It  is  a  society  Avhich  has  grown  out  of  the  facts  of 
redemption.  It  is  the  body  of  Christ ;  and  as  appointed  to 
teach,  the  presumption  is  that  it  teaches  in  His  name,  and 
by  His  authority,  the  very  truths  which  lie  at  the  basis  of 
its  own  existence.  Its  own  authority  is  nothing ;  it  claims 
to  be  only  a  witness,  and  its  testimony  is  entitled  to  pro- 
found respect  until  it  has  been  sJKnvn  that  it  is  not  sup- 


ported  by  the  Word.  It  is  important  that  we  learn  to 
venerate  the  Church.  The  unhappy  division  into  sects,  and 
the  perverse  abuse  of  the  principle  of  private  judgment,  have 
had  a  tendency  to  degrade  the  Church,  in  the  eyes  of  many 
Protestants,  to  the  level  of  a  mere  voluntary  society.  They 
look  upon  it  as  an  association  for  religious  purposes,  analo- 
gous to  societies  for  the  promotion  of  temperance  or  any 
other  moral  end.  They  overlook  its  Divine  constitution,  its 
historic  connection  with  the  facts  of  redemption,  and  its 
organic  unity  as  the  supernatural  product  of  the  Holy 
Spirit.  They  forget  that,  in  its  origin  and  idea,  it  is  the 
embodiment  of  the  Gospel.  INIelancthon  ^  has,  in  a  few  preg- 
nant W'Ords,  happily  defined  its  sphere  and  jurisdiction : 
"  As  the  gospel  commands  us  to  hear  the  Church,  so  I  say 
that  the  assembly  in  which  is  the  Word  of  God,  and  which 
is  called  the  Church,  must  be  heard,  even  as  we  are  also 
commanded  to  hear  our  pastors.  Let  us  therefore  hear  the 
Church  teaching  and  admonishing,  but  let  us  not  regulate 
our  faith  by  the  authority  of  the  Church.  The  Church  has 
no  right  to  make  articles  of  faith;  she  can  only  teach  and 
admonish."  So  also  in  the  Loci  Communes,  under  the 
head  De  Ecclesia :  "  The  Church  is,  indeed,  to  be  heard  as 
a  teacher,  but  faith  and  invocation  depend  upon  the  Word 
of  God,  not  on  human  authority.  Let  us  not  despise  the 
Church  as  teaching,  but  let  us  know  that  the  only  judge  or 
arbiter  of  truth  is  the  Word  itself."  ^  This  testimonial  and 
teaching  function  of  the  Church  is  a  safeguard  against  rash 
innovations,  presumptuous  speculations  and  fantastic  crudi- 
ties, and  in  this  light  the  Reformers  steadily  maintained  it. 
It  is  a  check  upon  bold  and  audacious  spirits,  who,  if  they 
did  not  hear  the  Church,  might  be  tempted  to  indulge  in 
the  most  absurd  and  extravagant  excesses  of  doctrine.' 
The  principle  of  the  Rationalist  is  that  human  reason  is 
Principle  of  the  Ka-  the  sourcc  aud  mcasurc  of  all  religious 
*'°"'^"^'^-  as  of  all  natural  truth.     Religion  is  con- 

*  De  Ecclesia  et  Auctoritate  Verbi  Dei.  Opera  Omnia,  Pars  Secunda,  p.  124. 

*  Opera  Omnia,  Pars  Prima,  p.  129.  ^  Loci  Com.,  Ibid. 


sidered  simply  as  a  department  of  philosophy,  and  noth- 
ing is  to  be  accepted  in  it,  any  more  than  in  any  other 
sphere  of  philosophical  inquiry,  which  does  not  authenti- 
cate itself  to  intelligence  as  the  explicit  evolution  of  what 
is  implicitly  contained  in  the  human  consciousness.  Man, 
according  to  this  theory,  is  the  measure  of  the  universe. 
The  difference  betwixt  the  Rationalist  and  the  Romanist 
reminds  one  of  the  difference  noted  by  Bacon  betwixt  the 
empirical  and  rationalist  philosojDhers.  "  The  empirical 
philosophers,"  says  he,  "  are  like  pismires ;  they  only  lay  up 
and  use  their  store.  The  rationalists  are  like  the  spiders ; 
they  spin  all  out  of  their  own  bowels.  But  give  me,"  he 
adds — and  this,  as  we  shall  afterward  see,  illustrates  the 
Protestant  principle — "  give  me  a  philosopher  who,  like 
the  bee,  hath  a  middle  faculty,  gathering  from  abroad,  but 
digesting  that  which  is  gathered  by  his  own  virtue."^ 

The  defectiveness  of  this  principle  is  seen,  first,  in  the 
fact  that  it  precludes  the  supposition  of  any  supernatural 
revelation.  It  construes  the  human  mind  into  an  absolute 
standard  of  the  possibility  of  truth.  It  authoritatively 
pronounces  that  there  can  be  no  intelligible  reality  beyond 
the  domain  of  human  consciousness.  Theology,  according 
to  this  view,  can  embrace  nothing  but  what  we  liave  called 
the  introductory  or  preliminary  portion  of  it.  This  is  the 
only  field  in  which  mere  reflection  and  analysis  can  find 
materials  for  working  on — the  only  field  in  which  the  data 
of  science  can  be  extracted  from  ourselves.  If  there  are 
dispensations  superinduced  by  the  voluntary  goodness  of 
God,  which  are  solely  the  offspring  of  will,  and  not  the 
evolutions  of  eternal  principles  of  rectitude,  they  can,  of 
course,  only  be  known  by  express  and  positive  revelation. 
Rationalism  undertakes  to  say  that  no  such  dispensations 
can  exist — that  there  can  be  no  such  transactions  betwixt 
God  and  the  creature  as  those  implied  in  the  Covenants  of 
Works  and  of  Grace.  The  only  jjrinciple  upon  which  such 
a  doctrine  can  be  maintained  is  the  impersonality  of  God, 

^  Apophthegms. 


and  the  consequent  reduction  of  all  the  forces  in  the  uni- 
verse to  a  law  of  blind,  immanent  necessity.  Kationalism, 
in  other  words,  if  maintained  as  a  logical  necessity,  subverts 
the  first  principles  of  Theism. 

In  the  next  place,  even  in  the  sphere  to  which  it  restricts 
religious  truth,  it  leaves  the  theologic  development  in  a  very 
precarious  and  unsatisfactory  state.  If  religion  is  not  a  habit 
of  science,  but  a  new  and  Divine  life — if  it  is  not  a  mode 
of  speculation,  but  a  new  mode  of  being — the  analysis  of 
our  spiritual  phenomena,  considered  as  so  many  manifesta- 
tions in  consciousness,  cannot  be  expected  to  give  us  the  key 
to  that  Divine  life,  that  work  of  the  Spirit,  which  underlies 
all  these  appearances.  Indeed,  we  should  have,  consist- 
ently with  Rationalism,  to  deny  the  facts  of  any  such  life. 
The  work  of  the  Spirit  is  as  completely  subverted  as  the 
gracious  dispensations  of  the  Father.  But  should  we  ad- 
mit that  there  is  nothing  in  Christian  experience  transcend- 
ing our  natural  consciousness,  still  the  difficulty  of  repro- 
ducing its  phenomena  accurately  in  reflection,  and  generaliz- 
ing the  laws  upon  which  they  are  dej^endent  (a  difficulty 
common  to  all  moral  and  intellectual  speculations),  is  greatly 
enhanced  by  the  mixture  of  good  and  evil,  the  confusion 
of  holy  impulses  and  remaining  depravity,  the  oscillations 
of  our  hopes  and  fears,  which  would  render  it  next  to  im- 
possible to  separate  the  precious  from  the  vile,  and  to  exhibit 
in  scientific  form  the  real  principles  which  constitute  piety. 
Hence,  unless  we  are  prepared  to  restrict  the  possibility  of 
religious  truth  to  the  low  sphere  of  mere  natural  relations ; 
unless  we  are  prepared  to  limit  the  condescension  and  good- 
ness of  God,  and  to  deny  to  Him  any  exercise  of  free-will 
in  His  dealings  w^ith  His  creatures ;  unless  we  are  prepared 
to  change  the  very  nature  of  religion,  and  to  make  it  simply 
a  development  in  the  sphere  of  morality  and  law, — we  are 
compelled  to  renounce  the  principle  of  the  Rationalist  as  an 
inadequate  source  of  theologic  truth.  There  are  more  things 
in  heaven  and  earth  than  are  dreamed  of  in  a  narrow  philos- 
ophy.     Given  dispensations  above  nature  as  conditioning 


religion,  and  a  revelation  express  and  positive  must  inter- 
vene. Instituted  by  the  voluntary  goodness  of  God,  they 
can  only  be  known  by  a  communication  from  Him.  Pro- 
ducts of  free-"\vill,  and  not  the  result  of  thejjature  of  things, 
they  can  be  known  only  as  they  are  reveal^.  Here  reason, 
however  it  may  authenticate,  can  discover  nothing  by  its 
own  light.  The  relations  being  given,  it  can  see  the  duties 
and  obligations  thence  arising ;  but  the  facts  which  consti- 
tute the  relations,  being  deductions  from  no  necessary  prin- 
ciples, have  to  be  accepted  as  matters  of  faith.  To  the  extent, 
then,  that  religion  involves  anything  more  than  the  funda- 
mental and  essential  elements  of  moral  government,  it  in- 
volves the  necessity  of  Divine  Revelation.  God  alone  is 
competent  to  testify  to  His  own  free  acts  and  determinations. 
Hence,  we  are  driven  to  the  Protestant  doctrine,  that  the 

true  principle,  the  only  infallible  source 
Principle.     "^  ^^  ^"      ^"^^  mcasure  of  religious  truth,  is  the  Word 

of  God — such  a  revelation  being  neces- 
sary to  a  full  and  perfect  development  of  the  laws  which 
determine  all  our  spiritual  exercises,  and  absolutely  indis- 
pensable to  furnish  the  objects  out  of  which  most  of  them 
spring.  AVhen  we  speak  of  Revelation  as  the  final  and 
ultimate  authority  in  theology,  we  mean  the  Sacred  Scrip- 
tures. JSTothing  else  can  present  the  credentials  without 
which  the  claim  to  inspiration  must  be  dismissed  as  uncer- 
tified. Tradition  can  hardly  preserve  the  simplest  narrative 
from  exaggeration  or  perversion  for  a  single  month,  and  to 
suppose  that  it  has  transmitted,  unimpaired,  Christian  doc- 
trines for  eighteen  centuries  is  to  suppose  a  miracle  which 
we  have  no  right  to  expect.  Writings  are  the  only  perma- 
nent records  of  truth,  and  God  has  illustrated  His  infinite 
goodness  in  giving  us  a  perfect  and  infallible  rule  of  relig- 
ious truth  in  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  and  New  Testaments, 
which  are  His  Word.  The  Bible,  therefore,  is  the  Religion 
of  Protestants — the  supreme  standard  of  faith  and  duty. 
The  authority  of  the  Bible  depends  upon  the  question  of  its 
inspiration,  and  the  final  and  conclusive  proof  of  that  elicits 

Lect.  L]  preliminary  observations.  49 

a  princii^le  in  Protestantism  which  exempts  its  theology 
from  the  dead,  traditional  formalism  of  the  theology  of 
Home.  That  principle  is,  that  the  truths  of  the  Bible 
authenticate  themselves  as  Divine  by  their  own  light. 
Faith  is  an  intuition  awakened  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  the 
truth  is  neither  known  nor  believed  until  it  is  consciously 
realized  by  the  illuminated  mind  as  the  truth  of  God.  In- 
tuition does  not  generate,  but  it  perceives  the  truth.  Rea- 
son, under  the  guidance  of  the  Spirit,  appropriates  and 
digests  it.  The  knowledge  is  immediate  and  infallible. 
The  Bible  becomes  no  longer  a  letter,  but  a  spirit,  and 
religion  is  not  a  tradition,  but  a  life.  Hence,  Protestantism 
has  all  the  warmth  and  vigour  and  spirituality  of  Ration- 
alism, without  its  dangers  of  confounding  fancies  with  facts, 
dreams  with  inspiration.  The  Word  supplies  an  external 
test,  Avhich  protects  from  imposture  and  deceit.  The  Spirit 
educates  and  unfolds  a  Divine  life  under  the  regulative 
guidance  of  the  Word.  The  Bible  and  the  Spirit  are  there- 
fore equally  essential  to  a  Protestant  theology.  Theolo- 
gia  (says  Thomas  Aquinas)  a  Deo  docetur,  Deum  docet,  et  ad 
Deum  dudt.  It  springs  from  God  as  the  source,  treats  of 
God  as  its  subject,  and  tends  to  God  as  its  end. 

The  respective  spheres  of  Reason  and  Revelation,  accord- 
ing to  the  foregoing  views,  are  very  dis- 

Reason  and  Revela-       .'.i  ii  tji  i  ,  ■/> 

tion,  tmctly   marked.      In    the   department   of 

necessary  moral  truth — that  is,  of  essen- 
tial rectitude — reason  is  a  source  of  knowledo-e  ;  but  as  it  is 
darkened  and  obscured  by  sin,  its  princij)les  and  deductions 
are  not  infallible.  Revelation  presents  these  data,  as  the 
reason  would  have  presented  them,  in  its  normal  state,  free 
from  uncertainty  and  error.  When  so  presented,  even  the 
fallen  reason  accepts  them,  perceives  their  autopistic  charac- 
ter, and  rectifies  its  own  aberrations  and  mistakes.  Here 
revelation  brings  out  into  the  clear  light  of  reflection  what 
before  was  involved  in  spontaneous  consciousness,  but  not 
distinctly  eliminated,  or,  if  eliminated,  mixed  witli  false- 
hood. The  primitive  intuitions  of  reason  are  always  cer- 
VoL.  I.— 4 


tain,  but  it  is  one  tiling  to  feel  their  power  and  quite  an- 
other to  reduce  them  to  formal  and  precise  propositions. 
No  revelation  can  contradict  them,  but  it  may  elicit  them 
as  distinct  and  manifest  phenomena  of  consciousness. 

In  the  next  place,  in  reference  to  supernatural  dispensa- 
tions, reason,  though  wholly  incapable  of  discovering  the 
data  in  the  free  acts  of  the  Divine  Will,  yet  when  these  are 
once  given  by  revelation  as  matters  of  fact,  can  discern  the 
obligations  which  naturally  arise  from  them.  It  can  dis- 
cern the  fit  and  becoming,  the  pulchrum  et  honestum  in  the 
new  circumstances  in  which  we  are  placed,  and  it  can  col- 
lect, compare  and  elaborate  into  scientific  unity  the  truths 
which  are  brought  within  its  reach.  But  in  no  case  is  rea- 
son the  ultimate  rule  of  faith.  No  authority  can  be  higher 
than  the  direct  testimony  of  God,  and  no  certainty  can  be 
greater  than  that  imparted  by  the  Spirit  shining  on  the 
Word.  An  accredited  revelation,  like  an  oath  among  men, 
should  put  an  end  to  controversy. 

But  the  question  may  arise.  Can  that  be  an  accredited 
revelation  which  contains  things  that  are  contradictory  to 
reason  ?  If  by  reason  we  are  here  to  understand  the  com- 
plement of  those  primitive  truths  and  cognitions,  with  the 
legitimate  deductions  from  them,  which  enter  into  the  uni- 
versal consciousness  of  the  race,  spontaneously  considered, 
there  is  and  can  be  but  one  answer.  These  fundamental 
facts  of  consciousness  cannot  be  set  aside  without  annihilat- 
ing all  intelligence.  To  deny  them,  or  to  question  them,  is 
to  reduce  all  knowledge  to  zero,  or  to  skepticism.  No  reve- 
lation, therefore,  can  contradict  them  without  committing  an 
act  of  suicide ;  it  would  destroy  the  very  condition  under 
which  alone  it  can  be  known  and  received  as  a  revelation. 

But  suppose  that  the  laws  of  intelligence  and  the  jn-imitive 
intuitions  of  the  soul  are  not  violated  by  what  jirofesses  to 
be  a  Divine  revelation,  is  reason  competent  to  judge,  upon 
internal  grounds,  of  the  truth  or  falsehood  of  its  contents  ? 
Here  we  must  make  a  distinction.  The  contents  of  revela- 
tion may  embrace  things  that  are  strictly  natural,  that  fall 


within  the  sphere  of  human  experience  and  observation. 
There  may  be  alhisions  to  geography  and  history,  to  civil 
and  political  institutions,  to  the  manners,  customs  and  con- 
dition of  different  countries  and  people.  Surely,  in  relation 
to  these  the  human  understanding,  when  furnished  with  the 
proper  sources  of  knowledge,  is  competent  to  judge.  It  de- 
serves to  be  remarked,  however,  that  truth  in  these  respects 
is  only  a  presumption  but  not  a  proof,  of  truth  in  others. 
A  book  may  contain  no  blunders  in  the  sphere  of  the  natural, 
and  yet  not  be  from  God.  Neither,  on  the  other  hand, 
would  error  in  these  respects  convict  a  professed  revelation 
of  imposture,  unless  it  claimed  to  be  infallible  in  all  matters. 
It  is  conceivable  that  God  might  leave  men  to  themselves 
Avhen  touching  upon  subjects  within  the  compass  of  their 
natural  powers,  and  yet  supernaturally  guard  them  from 
error  in  all  that  transcends  the  sphere  of  experience.  The 
contents  of  a  revelation  may — indeed  to  justify  its  name  it 
must,  contain  things  that  are  strictly  supernatural — things 
"which  eye  hath  not  seen,  ear  hath  not  heard,  neither  have 
entered  into  the  heart  of  man  to  conceive.  In  relation  to 
this  class  of  contents,  reason  has  no  standard  of  judgment. 
It  cannot  say  beforehand  what  a  revelation  ought  to  contain ; 
it  cannot  even  prescribe  the  form  in  which  it  should  be 
given ;  and  therefore  cannot  object  to  it  for  containing 
things  contrary  to  an  arbitrary  opinion.  The  objects  of 
cognition,  both  in  the  natural  and  supernatural  world",  must 
alike  be  given.  As  it  is  the  office  of  intelligence  to  study 
nature  as  it  is,  and  not  to  deny  its  existence  because  it  hap- 
pens not  to  be  what  our  vain  fancies  imagine  it  ought  to  be, 
so  it  is  the  office  of  reason  to  study  the  facts  of  revelation  as 
they  are  given,  and  not  to  indulge  in  chimerical  speculations 
as  to  what  oua-ht  or  ousjlit  not  to  have  been  communicated. 
The  attitude  of  reason  here  is  simply  that  of  a  recipient.  It 
listens  and  accepts  the  Word.  As  the  outer  world  manifests 
itself,  and  is  not  created  by  reason,  so  the  supernatural 
world  is  manifested  through  revelation,  and  is  not  the  pro- 
duct of  speculation.     As  we  depend  absolutely  upon  our 


senses  and  faculties  for  the  knowledge  of  material  phe- 
nomena, so  we  must  depend  absolutely  uj)on  Divine  revela- 
tion for  all  supernatural  phenomena.  They  may  be  mys- 
terious ;  that  is  to  be  expected.  They  may  be  incompre- 
hensible; that  naturally  results  from  their  transcendent 
character.  But  we  have  mysteries  in  nature,  and  we  carry 
in  our  OAvn  bosoms  proofs  of  a  substance  whose  reality  can- 
not be  doubted,  but  whose  being  cannot  be  fathomed  by  the 
line  of  human  intelligence.  The  soul  and  self  are  as  inex- 
plicable as  the  sublime  mysteries  of  Scripture. 

But  while  reason  cannot  judge  of  the  truth  or  falsehood 
of  supernatural  data  upon  any  internal  grounds,  there  is  an 
important  function  which  she  may  perform.  She  may  illus- 
trate the  harmony  of  Divine  truth,  not  only  with  itself,  but 
with  all  other  truth.  She  may  show  that  the  same  eternal 
principles  which  are  exemplified  in  ISTature  are  exemplified 
also  in  Grace,  and  that  the  same  objections  which  an  arro- 
gant philosophy  arrays  against  the  one  press  with  equal 
force  against  the  other.  God  is  one,  and  however  manifold 
His  works,  they  must  all  bear  the  marks  of  the  same  hand. 
They  are  all  really,  though  in  different  degrees,  impressions 
of  Himself.     They  are  all,  in  a  certain  sense.  His  word. 

Reason  may  also  derive  an  internal  proof  of  the  authen- 
ticity of  Revelation  from  the  beauty,  symmetry  and  glory 
of  the  dispensation  it  makes  known.  The  supernatural 
world  is  not  a  chaos.  Redemption  is  not  an  arbitrary 
series  of  events.  A  glorious  plan  pervades  it,  and  the 
whole  scheme  from  its  beginning  to  its  consummation  is  a 
marvellous  exhibition  of  the  manifold  wisdom  of  God. 
Unassisted  reason,  when  it  inquires  in  a  candid  spirit,  can 
partially  discern  the  traces  of  Divine  intelligence  and  glory, 
but  when  illuminated  by  the  Spirit  it  wants  no  other  evi- 
dence of  Divine  interposition.  The  truth  overpowers  it 
with  a  sense  of  ineffable  glory,  and  it  falls  down  to  worship 
and  adore ;  for  faith  is  only  reason  enlightened  and  recti- 
fied by  grace. 



THERE  arethree  questions  in  relation  to  God  which  a  com- 
petent theology  must  undertake  to  solve :  the  first  con- 
cerns His  existence,  the  second  His  nature, 
the  third  His  perfections, — An  sit  Deusf 
Quid  sit  Deus  f  Qualis  sit  Deus  ?     We  begin  with  the  first. 
Religion,  which  is  the  spiritual  knowledge  of  God,  we 

have  seen,  is  not  a  single  energy,  intellect- 
Religion,  the  high-  i  i  j.'         i  j.   j.         i? 

est  unfty  of  our  being,     ^al,  moral   or  cmotional ;    nor  a  state  of 

mind  in  which  each   energy  succeeds  the 

other  so  rapidly  as  to  make  the  impression  that  it  is  com- 

^  [1.  If  the  amount  of  speculation  which  a  subject  has  elicited  is  any  in- 
dication of  the  difficulties  which  surround  it,  the  question  of  the  Being 
of  God  must  be  the  most  difficult  within  the  compass  of  human  inquiry. 
It  would  seem  to  be  the  universal  sentiment  of  philosophers,  the  answer 
of  SImonides  the  poet  to  Hiero  the  king.  But  in  this  case,  it  is  not  so 
much  the  difficulty  as  the  transcendent  importance  of  the  subject  that 
has  provoked  such  a  mass  of  discussion.  The  number  of  books  upon  the 
elementary  question  of  Theology  is  perhaps  greater  than  upon  any  other 
topic  within  the  whole  sphere  of  speculation.  The  controversy  with 
Atheists  has  perhaps  exceeded  in  the  mass  of  its  contributions  the  contro- 
versy with  Deists.  The  confessed  importance  of  the  two  inquiries,  Is 
there  a  God  ?  and.  Are  the  Scriptures  a  revelation  from  God  ?  is  the  secret 
of  the  interest  they  have  elicited. 

2.  In  this  case,  as  in  many  others,  it  has  happened  that  the  very  sim- 
plicity of  the  truth  has  been  an  occasion  of  perplexity.  Many  have 
sought  for  erudite  proofs  of  what  God  meant  should  be  plain  and  ad- 
dressed to  every  understanding.  Self-evident  truths  require  no  proof; 
all  that  speculation  can  do  is  to  distinguish  them  and  to  indicate  the  cha- 
racteristics which  define  them.  The  attempt  to  i^rove  the  existence  of 
matter,  of  an  outward  world,  of  our  own  souls,  is  simply  absurd.  They 
authenticate  themselves.     All  that  philosophy  should  undertake  is  to 


54  THE    BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

posed  of  them  all  as  separate  and  separable  elements.  It  is 
the  whole  energy  of  our  being  carried  up  to  the  highest  unity. 
It  is  the  concentration  of  our  entire  spiritual  nature  into  one 

show  that  these  are  primitive  cognitions,  and  to  be  received  upon  their 
self-manifestation  with  an  absolute  faith.  The  Being  of  God  is  so  nearly 
a  self-evident  truth  that  if  we  look  abroad  for  deep  and  profound  argu- 
ments, or  expect  to  find  it  at  the  end  of  a  lengthened  chain  of  demonstra- 
tion, we  shaU  only  confuse  what  is  plain,  and  mystify  ourselves  with 
vain  deceit. 

3.  If  the  end  of  our  being  is  religion,  if  we  are  made  to  glorify  God 
and  to  enjoy  Him  for  ever,  there  must  obviously  be  a  special  adaptation 
of  our  nature  to  the  knowledge  of  God.  If  religion  is  not  wholly  a  de- 
lusion, the  evidence  of  the  Being  of  God  must  lie  very  close  to  us.  This 
was  the  confession  of  the  ancient  philosophers,  of  Socrates  and  Plato. 

4.  Hence,  we  find  that  the  belief  of  a  Deity  has  been  coextensive  with 
the  race.  It  is  as  natural  to  man  to  be  religious  as  to  be  social  or  politi- 
cal. His  mind  craves  a  God  even  more  intensely  than  his  heart  craves 
society.  There  must,  therefore,  be  something  in  man  which  recognizes 
the  existence  of  God,  without  the  necessity  of  laboured  and  formal  dem- 
onstrations. It  must  be  an  obvious  and  a  palpable  truth.  The  diflicul- 
ties  which  have  emerged  in  speculation  have  been  the  result  of  trying 
to  be  deep  where  the  subject  was  plain  and  patent. 

5.  This  is  confirmed  by  the  fact  that  the  very  same  process  of  specula- 
tion which  has  superinduced  doubt  in  relation  to  the  Being  of  God,  has 
also  superinduced  doubt  as  to  the  existence  of  an  outer  world  and  the 
existence  of  our  own  souls.  The  arguments  which  have  led  men  to  say 
that  there  is  no  God,  have  also  led  them  to  deny  the  reality  of  any  sub- 
stance, whether  material  or  spiritual. 

6.  The  result  of  these  skeptical  speculations  has  been  not  the  proof  of 
the  non-existence  of  God,  but  the  impossibility  of  proving  that  He  does 
exist.  There  is  and  can  be  no  demonstration  of  Atheism.  The  utmost 
that  can  be  done  is  to  affirm  that  if  a  God  exists  we  cannot  certify  the 
fact  to  our  own  consciousness. 

7.  There  is  no  doubt  that  there  is  an  antecedent  credibility  in  favour  of 
the  existence  of  God,  from  the  fact  that  this  hypothesis  is  a  satisfactory 
solution  of  all  the  phenomena  of  the  universe.  It  gives  one  mystery,  the 
Divine  Being  Himself,  and  solves  every  other  mystery.  It  pours  a  flood 
of  light  upon  all  else  besides.  It  begins  with  the  incomprehensible,  but 
it  ends  in  the  comprehensible.  Every  other  system  begins  and  ends  in 
the  incomprehensible.  If  the  question  of  God  had  none  but  a  specula- 
tive interest  connected  with  it,  this  presumption  would  perhaps  be  more 
readily  acknowledged. 

8.  Revelation  is  as  really  a  proof  of  the  existence  of  God  as  nature. 
It  is  not  exclusively  a  question  of  natural  theology,  in  the  sense  of  that 
theology  which  depends  upon  the  unassisted  light  of  reason.] 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  55 

form  of  life.  It  is  a  condition  in  which  intellect,  conscience 
and  heart  are  blended  into  perfect  union.  One  exercise 
cannot  be  separated  from  the  others.  It  is  hence  neither 
speculative  nor  practical — it  is  a  state  in  which  speculation 
and  practice  completely  coincide.  If  this  view  of  the  na- 
ture of  religion  be  correct,  the  cognition  of  God,  who  is  the 
,  ,       ,     object  matter  of  religion,  must  be  the  con- 

The   knowledge    of  J  . 

God,  the  contiibntion  tributiou  of  all  our  facultics,  and  not  the 
result  of  any  single  department  of  our 
nature.  Give  man  mere  intellect  without  conscience,  will 
or  heart,  and  he  could  never  attain  to  any  just  conception 
of  his  Maker.  He  might  comprehend  a  single  relation  of 
God — that  of  cause ;  but  apart  from  the  power  necessary  to 
produce  the  given  effect  and  the  intelligence  necessary  to 
explain  the  order  of  the  world,  he  would  know  nothing  of 
what  his  philosophy  compelled  him  to  postulate  as  the  first 
cause.  A  God  who  is  merely  intelligence  and  power  is  no 
God  at  all.  He  might  be  sufficient  to  satisfy  the  needs  of 
speculation  in  the  sphere  of  ontology — a  substance  among 
substances,  a  cause  among  causes — but  there  Avould  be  no 
more  impulse  to  worship  Him  than  there  is  to  worship 
the  secondary  causes  which  emerge  in  the  same  region  of 
thought.  The  other  faculties  necessarily  imply  intelligence. 
There  can  be  no  conscience  without  knowledge — it  is  a  pecu- 
liar form  of  cognition.  There  can  be  no  emotion  without 
knowledge — that  also  is  a  special  form  of  cognition. 

In  appreciating  the  argument  for  the  Being  of  God  it  is 
important  to  recollect  that  each  higher  de- 
esfformTf  ufl,  ^'^'"  g^^^  ^f  life  cmbraccs  all  the  others.  The 
animal  has  all  that  belongs  to  the  vege- 
table, and  something  more ;  the  rational  has  all  that  belongs 
to  the  animal,  and  something  more ;  the  moral  has  all  that 
belongs  to  the  rational,  and  something  more ;  and  the  re- 
ligious has  all  that  belongs  to  the  moral,  and  something 
more.  The  addition  in  each  case  is  not  something  capable 
of  being  detached — it  is  fused  into  the  other.  The  two 
make  a  new  form  of  life  as  simple  and  as  indivisible  as  each 

56  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

element  separately.  The  animal  is  not  the  vegetable,  plus 
a  something  which  you  can  separate  from  it,  but  the  vege- 
table in  perfect  fusion  with  the  something  that  modifies  it. 
In  the  same  way,  the  rational  and  the  animal  are  not  two 
factors  which  make  up  a  compound  in  which  you  can  dis- 
criminate the  precise  posture  of  each,  but  a  whole,  as  single 
and  indivisible  as  each  of  the  factors  it  combines.  But 
while  every  higher  includes  every  lower  form  of  life,  and 
reduces  it  to  the  unity  of  its  own  being,  yet  what  is  really 
inseparable  may  be  considered  as  logically  distinct,  and  we 
may  approximate  a  just  view  of  the  higher  by  apjjrehending 
the  nature  of  all  the  lower  it  absorbs.  Religion,  accordingly, 
being  the  highest  form  of  life,  constituting 

and  the  consiimniatiou        ,i  p     i^'  d  ••jII* 

ofouriieiucr.  ^^^^  '^'^ry  periectiou  ot  our  spu-itual  bemg, 

and  fulfilling  all  the  functions  ascribed  by 
the  Greek  philosophers  to  their  Wisdom,  though  possessing 
a  strict  and  perfect  unity,  may  be  considered  in  reference  to 
the  lower  forms  of  life  it  includes,  and  in  this  way  a  clearer 
notion  conveyed  than  could  be  attained  without  this  logical 
resolution.  The  best  way  to  authenticate  our  knowledge  of 
God  is  to  show  that  it  is  the  consummation  of  our  beina; — 
that  without  God.  man  is  left  a  maimed  and  imperfect  crea- 
ture. Each  element  of  his  spiritual  being  points  to  God, 
and  when  all  are  combined  they  give,  in  their  normal  condi- 
tion, the  true  and  living  God  of  Revelation.  This  method 
of  presenting  the  subject  is  simple  and  progressive,  and  the 
result  when  attained  is  seen  to  be  exactly  the  being  that  we 
seek.  It  is  felt  to  be  the  same  God  whom  every  part  of  our 
nature  proclaims,  since  the  voice  of  every  j)firt  is  finally 
taken  up  in  the  voice  of  the  whole. 

In  conformity  with  this  method  we  may  look  upon  man 
successivelv  as  a  rational  beino;,  as  a  moral 

Threefold  constitu-     ^^j^^^^  ^  ^  rcligious  bciug ;  and  wc  shall 

see  that  speculation  in  its  fundamental  law 
reveals  a  God;  moral  distinctions  are  grounded  in  His 
nature  and  government ;  and  religion  contemplates  Him  as 
a  being  of  ineffable  beauty  and  glory. 

Lect.  II.]  THE  BEING  OF  GOD.  57 

I.  Let  us   consider,  first,  the   testimony   of  speculative 

reason.      By  speculative  reason  we   mean 

The  testimony  of      ^j^^^  principle  in  man  which  prompts  him 

speculative  reason.  ■••  -i  J-  a 

to  account  for  existing  phenomena.  His 
apprehensive  faculties  furnish  him  with  the  materials  of 
knowledge ;  reason  digests  these  materials  into  science  by 
generalizing  the  facts  and  ascertaining  the  causes  upon  which 
they  depend.  It  answers  the  question,  Why  things  are  as 
we  see  them  to  be  ?  The  root  of  this  faculty  is  the  law  of 
causation.  This  law  is  not,  as  some  philosophers  have  rep- 
resented it,  a  deduction  from  experience ;  nor  is  it,  as  Ham- 
ilton imagines,  a  confession  of  our  impotence  to  conceive  an 
absolute  commencement.     It  is  a  fundamental  law  of  belief 

The  law  of  causa-  ^7  ^hich  the  ordcr  of  existence  is  made 
tion,  a  fundamental  Capable  of  detcction  by  human  intelligence. 
This  law  is  not,  as  Kant  would  have  us 
believe,  a  merely  regulative  principle,  which  adjusted  the 
relations  of  our  thoughts  without  any  objective  validity  or 
any  power  to  certify  that  things  really  were  as  we  thought 
them.  On  the  other  hand,  every  law  of  thought  is,  at  the 
same  time,  a  law  of  existence.  If  oiu*  thoughts  represent 
real  beings,  the  connections  of  our  thoughts  will  answer  to 
the  connections  of  the  things.  If  they  represent  imaginary 
beings,  then  the  connections  are  connections  that  would  ob- 
tain if  the  things  were  real.  The  truth  is,  intelligence 
would  be  a  mere  delusion  if  the  fundamental  law  of  reason 
were  shut  up  within  the  limits  of  a  rigorous  subjectivity. 
It  would  be  impossible  to  extend  our  knowledge  beyond  the 
circle  of  actual  experience.  Even  the  testimony  of  others  as 
a  source  of  knowledge  would  have  to  be  excluded,  since  the 
ground  upon  which  we  ultimately  credit  the  reports  of  others 
is  this  same  law  of  cavise  and  effect.     Taking,  then,  the  law 

This  law  is  a  law  ^^  causatiou  as  at  once  a  law  of  thought 
of  existenco,  as  well     and  a  law  of  cxistcncc,  whenever  it  sets  out 

as  of  thought.  o  ^  i    •  mitt 

from  the  real  it  must  necessarily  lead  to  the 
real.  If  we  have  effects  that  are  real,  we  must  find  causes 
that  are  real.     In  the  theistic  argument  we  begin,  in  the 

58  THE   BEING  OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

first  place,  with  beings  that  are  real.  We  set  out  from  facts 
which  fall  w^ithin  the  sphere  of  our  experience.  We  start 
from  the  Avorld  around  us.  Here  is  being,  and  being  in  a 
constant  state  of  flux  and  change.  It  is  being  that  began. 
If  it  were  necessary,  it  would  be  immutable.  Whatever 
necessarily  is,  necessarily  is  just  as  it  is  and  just  what  it  is. 
f     The  contingency  of  the  world  is  as  obvioxis 

The  contingency  of  O         J 

the  world  proves  a  ne-     as    its    existcuce.     An    infinite   succession 

cessary,  eternal  cause.  ^  ^     .  -,      ^  i  i         i  • 

ot  finite  and  changeable  objects  is  a  contra- 
diction. If  the  world  began,  it  must  have  had  a  Maker. 
The  conclusion  is  as  certain  as  the  law  of  causation.  The 
conclusion  is  not  that  we  must  think  it  as  having  had  a 
Maker — that  to  us  it  is  incogitable  in  any  other  relation, 
though  in  truth  it  might  have  had  an  absolute  beginning — 
but  that  it  exists  under  this  condition  of  having  been  caused. 
To  put  the  argument  in  another  form :  If  there  is  any  being 
at  all,  there  must  be  eternal,  unchangeable,  necessary  being. 
If  there  is  any  existence,  there  must  be  self-existence  to  ex- 
j)lain  it.  Either  the  beings  that  we  see  are  self-existent,  or 
they  have  been  made.  If  they  have  been  made,  there  must 
be  a  Maker — and  as  there  cannot  be  an  infinite  regression 
of  causes,  the  Maker  must  be  absolutely  underived  and  self- 
sufiicient.  This  is  the  argument  in  a  brief  compass  which 
results  from  the  law  of  causation  as  applied  to  the  contin- 
gency of  the  world.  It  is  simple,  conclusive,  unanswerable. 
You  will  perceive  that  it  consists  of  two  elements :  one,  a 
'posteriori,  given  in  experience — the  contingency  of  the  world  ; 
the  other,  a  priori,  contained  in  the  constitution  of  our  nature.^ 

^  [The  existence  of  God  is  really  a  cognition  of  the  human  soul,  like 
the  cognition  of  matter  or  of  ourselves.  It  is  so  inseparable  from  the  de- 
velopment of  reason  that  wherever  we  find  a  man,  we  find  one  who  is  not 
a  stranger  to  the  existence  of  God,  The  real  problem  of  Theology  is  not 
to  prove  that  a  God  exists,  as  if  she  were  instructing  the  ignorant  or  im- 
parting a  new  truth  to  the  mind,  but  to  show  the  grounds  upon  which  we 
are  already  in  possession  of  the  truth.  It  is  to  vindicate  an  existing 
faith,  and  not  to  create  a  new  one.  The  belief  itself  is  universal — as  uni- 
versal as  the  belief  in  the  soul.  However  men  may  differ  on  other  points, 
they  agree  in  this.  Religion  is  prior  to  civilization,  and  has  been  justly 
represented  as  the  first  teacher  of  the  race.     The  question  is :  How  this 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF    GOD.  69 

The  a  jrnori  element  is  a  guarantee  for  the  objective  validity 
of  all  that  the  reason  in  obedience  to  it  deduces  from  the 
other.  You  can  state  the  argument  in  the  form  of  a  syllo- 
gism, but  you  are  not  to  suppose  that  the  conclusion  flows 
from  the  major  premise  as  something  contained  in  it.^  On 
the  other  hand  it  is  simply  legitimated  by  it,  and  the  real 
„,  ,  .      ,  ^  ^ .      character  of  the  ratiocination  is  that  of  im- 

The  beiug  of  God  is 

proved  by  an  immedi-  mediate  inference.  By  the  very  nature  of 
the  reason,  in  apprehending  the  world  as 
contingent  we  apprehend  it  as  having  been  originated.  We 
are  not  conscious  of  any  succession  of  ideas  at  all.  It  seems 
to  be  an  intuition  of  God,  which  is  awakened  in  the  soul 
upon  the  occasion  of  its  coming  into  contact  with  the  world. 
But  God  is  not  an  object  of  intuition.  If  He  were,  we 
would  know  Him  by  some  faculty  of  immediate  perception. 
We  know  Him  only  mediately  through  a  law  of  reason 
which  gives  His  being  as  an  immediate  inference  from  the 
facts  of  experience. 

The  argument  from  the  contingency  of  the  world  ^  is  what 
,    .   ,     Kant   has  called   the   cosmological   proof. 

This      cosmological  o  ^ 

argument  not  sophis-  Like  all  tlic  othcr  proofs  from  pure  reason, 
he  has  pronounced  it  to  be  a  specious 
sophism ;  and  yet  he  admits  again  and  again  that  it  is  the 
necessary  progress  of  our  reason.  It  is  certainly  remark- 
able that  our  reason  should  be  so  constituted  as  necessarily 
to  seduce  us  into  error;  that  in  obeying  its  most  urgent  and 

belief  arose,  and  upon  what  grounds  it  may  be  authenticated  ?  We  shall 
attempt  to  show  that  it  is  the  necessary  oflspring  of  reason — that  it  springs 
from  the  very  constitution  of  the  soul.] 

^  [The  argument  is  not  a  syllogism,  it  is  not  a  demonstration ;  and  God 
is  not  the  object  of  an  intuition,  but  it  is  an  immediate  inference,  like  the 
connection  between  thought  and  existence.  One  truth  necessarily  implies 
another,  and  this  necessary  connection  is  intuitively  perceived,  lleason 
is  so  constructed  that  as  soon  as  it  cognizes  any  being,  it  must  cognize 
God.  The  inference  from  one  to  the  other  is  immediate,  intuitive,  neces- 

^  [The  argument  from  the  contingency  of  the  world  is  also  developed 
by  Des  Cartes,  in  another  form,  as  an  argument  from  the  imperfection  of 
the  world.     It  is  beautifully  expanded  by  Cousin,  p.  127,  seq.J 

60  THE   BEING   OF    GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

imperative  impulses  we  should  only  entangle  ourselves  in 
the  mazes  of  delusion,  instead  of  being  conducted  into  the 
clear  light  of  truth.  If  reason  in  such  inquiries  were  pre- 
sumptuous or  perverted,  if  she  were  acting  in  contradiction 
to  her  own  laws,  the  fallacious  result  could  be  easily  ex- 
plained. But  when  it  is  confessed  that  she  is  pursuing  the 
tendencies  of  her  own  nature,  that  she  is  imjjelled  by  the 
very  nature  of  her  constitution  not  only  to  engage  in  these 
speculations,  but  to  draw  these  very  conclusions,  the  infer- 
ence would  seem  to  be  that  reason  was  given,  not  as  an 
organ  of  truth,  but  as  a  faculty  of  deceit.  The  manner  in 
which  Kant  undertakes  to  convict  reason  of  sophistry  in  the 
conduct  of  the  cosmological  argument  will  have  no  weight 
with  those  who  are  not  imbued  with  the  principles  of  the 
Critical  philosophy  as  to  the  nature  of  human  knowledge. 
He  takes  for  granted  that  the  laws  of  thought  have  only  a 
subjective  validity,  and  that  the  matter  of  our  knowledge  is 
only  a  series  of  subjective  phenomena.  Of  course  the  argu- 
ment must  be  deceitful  according  to  a  philosophy  like  this. 
It  must  be  admitted,  however,  that  this  cosmological  ar- 
gument fails  to  give  us  any  other  concep- 

yet  it  is  defective.  ,  r»/^iii  i* 

tion  of  God  that  that  of  necessary  being. 
It  stops  at  His  absoluteness.  From  His  necessity  and  eter- 
nity you  can  infer  nothing  as  to  His  nature  and  attributes. 
He  is  the  first  substance,  the  cause  of  all  things,  while  un- 
conditioned Himself. 

Reason,  in  obedience  to  the  same  law  of  causation,  takes 

another  step  in  which  she  equally  sets  out 

The   teleological  ar-        />  lA       e     i.        c  •  t^   •      • 

gy^jpjjj  from  the  lacts  ot  experience.     It  is  impos- 

ble  to  contemplate  the  universe,  as  far  as  it 
falls  under  our  observation,  without  perceiving  that  it  is 
really  a  kosmos,  a  scene  of  order  and  of  law.  The  most 
untutored  peasant,  as  well  as  the  profoundest  philosopher, 
is  alike  capable  of  apprehending  the  general  fact.  The 
motions  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  the  succession  of  the  sea- 
sons, the  alternation  of  day  and  night,  the  exquisite  organi- 
zation of  plants  and  animals,  and  especially  the  structure 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING  OF   GOD.  61 

of  the  human  frame,  are  such  conspicuous  manifestations 
of  order  that  the  most  careless  observer 

General  order,  ,  ,        .   ,       ,  ,^, 

cannot  fail  to  be  impressed  with  it.  The 
perception  of  this  order  does  not  require  a  knowledge  of 
the  ends  to  be  answered  by  it.  We  may  be  satisfied  that 
it  exists  where  we  do  not  understand  its  ultimate  pur- 
pose or  design.  A  man  ignorant  of  machinery  may  feel 
that  there  is  a  plan  in  the  structure  of  a  watch,  or  of 
a  ship,  or  of  a  cotton-mill,  though  he  does  not  compre- 
hend the  subordination  of  the  parts,  nor  how  the  end  they 
aim  at  is  answered.  He  may  see  some  ancient  monument 
of  art,  and  be  struck  with  the  order  that  reigns  in  it,  though 
he  has  no  idea  of  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  intended. 

General  order  is  one  thing,  special  adapt- 
timis  ^^'^  "^    atapta-     ^tions  are  auotlicr.     In  special  adaptations 

we  know  the  end  and  understand  the  means 
by  which  it  is  accomplished.  The  eye  as  adapted  to  vision  is 
an  instance  of  special  adaptation ;  the  stomach  as  adapted  to 
the  functions  of  digestion  is  another.  Science  is  constantly 
enlarging  our  knowledge  in  the  wonderful  adaptations  of 
nature,  and  science  is  daily  deepening  the  impression  of 
general  order.  Indeed,  the  tendency  of  physical  science  is 
to  make  a  god  of  the  law  of  order — to  resolve  it  into  a 
primordial  necessity  which  precludes  the  possibility  of  any 
breach  upon  its  course.  Now  here  is  an  effect,  a  phenome- 
non, to  be  accounted  for.     There  must  be  a  cause  of  this 

order,  and  reason  intuitively  perceives  that 

prove    an    intelligent        •j.ii-  •       J.^  i  1  j_-  />   •j_ 

^g^^gg  intelligence  is  the  only  explanation  oi  it, 

as  necessary  being  is  the  only  explanation 
of  contingent  being.  Order  implies  thought,  purpose,  de- 
sign. It  is  the  prerogative  of  mind  alone  to  plan  and  to 
arrange.  The  adjustment  of  means  to  ends  is  a  combina- 
tion of  reason,  and  reason  knows  her  own  footprints.  This 
is  what  Kant  calls  the  physico-theological  argument.  It  is 
commonly  called  the  argument  from  final  causes,  or  the 
teleological  proof.  Kant^  admits  that  it  deserves  to  be 
1  Crit.  Pure  Keason,  p.  383.     Bolin's  Trans. 

62  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

mentioned  with  respect.  "  It  is,"  he  says,  "  the  oldest,  the 
clearest,  and  that  most  in  conformity  with  the  common  rea- 
son of  humanity.  It  animates  the  study  of  nature,  as  it 
itself  derives  its  existence  and  draws  ever  new  strength 
from  that  source.  It  introduces  aims  and  ends  into  a  sphere 
in  which  our  observation  could  not  of  itself  have  discov- 
ered them,  and  extends  our  knowledge  of  nature  by  direct- 
ing our  attention  to  a  unity,  the  principle  of  A^hich  lies 
beyond  nature.  This  knowledge  of  nature  again  reacts 
upon  this  idea — its  cause — and  thus  our  belief  in  a  Divine 
Author  of  the  universe  rises  to  the  power  of  an  irresistible 
conviction.  For  these  reasons  it  would  be  utterly  hope- 
less," he  adds,  "  to  attempt  to  rob  this  argument  of  the 
authority  it  has  always  enjoyed.  The  mind,  unceasingly 
elevated  by  these  considerations,  which,  although  empirical, 
are  so  remarkably  powerful  and  continually  adding  to  their 
force,  will  not  suffer  itself  to  be  depressed  by  the  doubts 
suggested  by  subtle  speculations ;  it  tears  itself  out  of  this 
state  of  uncertainty  the  moment  it  casts  a  look  upon  the 
wondrous  forms  of  nature  and  the  majesty  of  the  universe, 
and  rises  from  height  to  height,  from  condition  to  condi- 
tion, till  it  has  elevated  itself  to  the  supreme  and  uncondi- 
tioned Author  of  all." 

It  must  be  confessed,  however,  that  this  argument,  if 

taken  alone,  fails  to  demonstrate  the  exist- 
snffioienrofTe'Jn  ""     ^^^^  of  au  Infinite  Author  of  the  universe. 

It  proves  intelligence,  but  it  does  not  prove 
that  that  intelligence  may  not  be  derived.  It  exhibits  God 
as  arranging  the  order  which  prevails.  He  is  only,  in  the 
light  of  it,  the  Architect  of  nature.  For  all  that  appears, 
matter  may  have  existed  independently  of  His  will ;  and  His 
knowledge  of  it  may  have  been  derived  from  observation 
and  experience  analogous  to  our  own.  He  may  have 
studied  the  jjroperties  and  laws  of  the  materials  He  has 
used  in  the  structure  of  the  universe,  and  His  power  may, 
like  ours,  consist  in  obedience  to  the  laws  of  the  substances 
with  which  He  had  to  deal.     The  argument,  in  other  words, 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  63 

does    not    conduct  us  beyond  a  subtle  anthropomorphism. 

In  itself,  therefore,  it  is  incomplete,  but  when  added  to  the 

cosmological  which    gives  us  a   Creator — 

but    it    complements  .     „     ,  ■.  T>    • 

the  preceding  one,  and     au    luiinite,   eternal,  necessary   Jieing — we 
together  they  demon-     perceivc  that  this  Being  is  intelligent,  that 

Btrate  God.  ^  _  °,    ^  i       i  i 

He  is  an  almighty  Spirit,  and  that  the 
thoughts  of  His  understanding  have  been  from  everlasting. 
Here,  too,  as  in  the  other  case,  the  argument  is  an  imme- 
diate inference  from  a  determinate  form  of  experience,  that 
of  order  and  beauty,  to  a  designing  mind — the  inference 
being  guarantied  by  a  law  of  thought  which  is,  at  the  same 
time,  a  condition  of  existence. 

These  two  arguments  exhibit  the  steps  by  which,  in  the 
Reason  in  its  nor-  sphcrc  of  specuktiou,  the  rcasou  ascends  to 
mai  use,  ascends  to  ail  intellio;ent  Autlior  of  the  Universe. 
They  are  steps  which,  in  the  normal  de- 
velopment of  reason,  would  seem  to  be  inevitable.  It  is 
prompted,  by  its  very  nature,  to  inquire  into  the  causes  of 
things.  This  is  the  foundation  of  all  philosophy.  Take 
away  the  notion  and  the  belief  of  cause,  and  the  idea  of  a 
Kosmos  becomes  absurd,  and  that  of  philosophy  a  palpable 
contradiction.  Unless,  therefore,  our  reason  is  a  lie,  there  is 
a  God  who  made  us  and  ordained  the  order  which  constitutes 
the  beauty  and  the  glory  of  the  Universe.^  These  heavens 
and  this  earth,  this  wondrous  frame  of  ours  and  that  more 
wondrous  spirit  within,  are  the  products  of  His  power  and 
the  contrivances  of  His  infinite  wisdom.  External  nature, 
to  reason  in  her  normal  state,  becomes  an  august  temple  of 
the  Most  High,  in  which  He  resides  in  the  ftdlness  of  His 
being,  and  manifests  His  goodness  to  all  the  works  of  His 
hands.  I^othing  is  insignificant,  nothing  is  dumb.  The 
heavens  declare   His  glory.     The  firmament  showeth  His 

^  [We  must  study  God  in  His  works,  as  children  who  cannot  look  the 
sun  in  the  face  behold  its  image  in  the  limpid  stream.  Simon.,  p.  25. 

One  mav  almost  define  philosophy  in  all  its  branches  as  a  method  of 
reaching  the  infinite  through  the  finite.  Simon.,  p.  29. 

He  adds,  "  all  philosophy  is  full  of  God,  and  all  the  sciences  are  full  of 

64  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

handiwork.  The  day  elicits  from  the  countless  multitude 
of  beings  revealed  by  its  light  a  tribute  to  His  praise ;  and 
the  night,  with  its  array  of  planets,  suns,  and  adamantine 
spheres  wheeling  unshaken  through  the  void  immense,  utters 
a  sound  which  is  audible  to  every  ear  and  intelligible  to 
every   heart.     Science,  when    it   has   con- 

and  adores  Ilim.  /-nt 

ducted  us  to  God,  ceases  to  speculate  and 
begins  to  adore.  All  the  illustrations  which  it  has  gathered 
in  the  fields  it  has  explored  are  converted  into  hymns,  and 
the  climax  of  its  inquiries  is  a  sublime  doxology. 

Among  the  arguments  of  speculative  reason,  it  has  been 
usual   to   class  what   has  been  called  the 

The  ontological  i    i       •       i  r        ^^■^  •  j.       J      j.       l, 

proof  criticised.  ontoiogiccd  proot.     Ihispreteuds  to  be  an 

a  iwiori  demonstration  of  the  existence  of 
God.  It  is  found,  in  its  germ,  in  the  philosophy  of  Plato, 
and  under  different  forms  of  development  it  has  been  trans- 
mitted, through  the  Schoolmen,  to  Des  Cartes  and  Leibnitz, 
The  German  philosopher  put  the  last  touch  to  it.  Indeed 
he  has  so  modified  it  that  it  requires  careful  attention  to 
recognize,  in  its  new  form,  the  speculations  of  Anselm,  and 
even  of  Plato  before  him.  The  new  form,  as  given  by 
Kant,^  is  substantially  this :  "  Perfect  being  contains  all 
reality,  and  it  is  admitted  that  such  a  being  is  possible ;  that 
is  to  say,  that  its  existence  implies  no  contradiction.  Now, 
all  reality  supposes  existence.  There  is,  therefore,  a  thing 
possible  in  the  concept  of  which  is  comprised  existence.  If 
this  thing  be  denied,  the  possibility  of  its  existence  is  also 
denied,  which  is  contradictory  to  the  preceding."  The  ar- 
gument is  thus  expressed  by  Leibnitz  himself:  "  Uns,  ex 
cujus  essentia  sequitur  existentia,  si  est  jyossibile,  id  est.  Est 
axioma  identicum  demonstratione  non  indigens.  Atqui  Deus 
est  ens  ex  cvjus  essentia  sequitur  ipsius  existentia.  Est  de- 
jinitio.  Ergo  Deus,  si  est  possible,  existet  per  ipsius  conceptus 
neGessitatem."  This  means  that  God  is,  if  He  is  possible, 
because  His  possibility — that  is  to  say.  His  essence  itself — 
carries  with  it  His  existence,  and  because  it  would  be  a 
1  Cousin,  Pliilos.  Kant,  pp.  120,  seq. 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  65 

contradiction  to  recognize  this  essence  and  refuse  to  it 

To  me,  the  objections  of  the  German  critic  to  the  conclu- 
siveness of  this  argument  are  perfectly  insuperable.  A  sub- 
jective necessity  of  thought  implies  an  objective  necessity 
of  existence  only  when  the  thought  is  a  real  thing.  We 
may  imagine  a  being,  and  attribute  to  it  attributes  which 
necessarily  imply  other  attributes ;  but  these  attributes  can- 
not be  inferred  to  have  a  real  existence  unless  the  subject  to 
which  they  are  ascribed  is  first  postulated  as  real.  We  may 
conceive  a  being  in  which  necessity  of  existence  is  posited  as 
an  attribute ;  but  if  the  subject  is  only  a  conception  of  the 
mind,  the  necessity  of  being  is  equally  subjective.  We  can- 
not pass  from  thought  to  existence  unless  the  thought  begins 
in  existence.  "  Existence,"  as  Kant  has  justly  remarked,^ 
"  is  not  an  attribute,  a  predicate  which  determines  tlie  idea 
of  the  subject.  When  I  say  that  God  is  all-powerful,  the 
attribute  all-poioerful  determines  the  idea  of  God ;  but  when 
I  conceive  God  as  simply  possible  or  real,  the  idea  of  Him 
rests  the  same  in  both  cases ;  here  it  is  certain  the  real  in- 
volves nothing  more  than  the  possible.  If  it  were  otherwise, 
the  idea  which  we  have  of  any  thing  would  not  be  complete 
until  we  had  conceived  it  as  possible.  It  follows  that  if  I 
conceive  a  being  as  perfect,  I  may  perplex  myself  as  much 
as  I  please  by  trying  to  evolve  from  the  idea  the  real  exist- 
ence. The  question  of  existence  always  remains,  and  it  is 
not  from  the  conception  of  the  object  conceived  as  possible 
that  we  can  draw  the  concept  of  its  reality.  We  are  there- 
fore obliged  to  quit  the  concept  of  an  object  if  we  would 
accord  to  it  real  existence." 

Whatever  charm  this  species  of  reasoning  has  for  spec- 
ulative minds,  it  is  certain  that  it  can  ter- 

It    terminates    in  «        ,  i        •  j.  l,   j.        x'  mi 

empty  abstractions.        mmatc  ouly  m  empty  abstractions.     The 

truth  is,  the  secret  of  its  influence  is  the 

firm  conception  and  belief  of  a  necessary  being  as  actually 

existing  which   we   derive    from   the   cosmological    proof. 

1  Cousin,  Phil.  Kant,  p.  123.  ^  Cousin,  ibid.,  p.  122. 

Vol.  .1—5 

66  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

There  we  start  out  from  the  real  and  are  conducted  to  the 
real  in  this  most  sublime  and  overpowering  of  all  concep- 
tions. The  idea  of  necessary  being  never  emerges  until  the 
fact  of  contingent  being  is  given/  and  then  in  this  fact  the 
reason  perceives  by  immediate  intuition  that  the  eternal  and 
independent  is  given  too.  Having  thus  reached  the  concept 
of  necessary  existence,  we  proceed  to  draw  inferences  from 
it  as  a  real  characteristic  of  God. 

From  the  nature  of  the  case,  the  being  of  God  never  can 
be  demonstrated  in  the  strict  and  proper  sense  of  the  term. 
He  is  contained  in  nothing.  It  may  be  manifested,  but  not 

Consigning,  therefore,  this  argument  to  the  tender  mer- 
cies of  the  metaphysicians,  let  us  see  the 

esn     owiic  \\e     pesult  to  wliicli  wc  arc  conducted  bv  the 

have  been  conducted.  " 

other  two.  If  the  conclusion  which  they 
yield  is  an  immediate  inference  guarantied  by  the  funda- 
mental law  of  intelligence,  the  conclusion  inevitably  fol- 
lows that  we  can  know  nothing  aright  without  knowing  of 
God.  He  becomes  the  principmm  cognosccnd'i ,  as  well  as 
the  principium  cssendi.  He  is  the  fountain  to  which  all  the 
streams  of  speculation  converge.  Truth  is  never  reached — 
the  why  is  never  adequately  given  until  you  ascend  to  Him. 
Intelligence  finds  its  consummation  in  the  knowledge  of 
His  name. 

II.  We  come  now  to  a  higher  spiritual  energy  or  a  higher 

form  of  spiritual  life.     We  are  to  contem- 

Conscience  in  man  ^ 

demands  the  existence     platc  man  as  a  moral  bciug,  and  we  shall 

find  that  his  conscience,  still  more  imper- 

[1  We  may  observe,  further,  that  we  do  not  positively  think  necessary 
being ;  we  only  believe  it  as  the  indispensable  condition  or  cause  of  the 
contingent.  It  does  not  lie  in  the  consciousness  as  an  absolute  dictum — 
"  There  is  necessary  being ;"  but  only  as  a  hypothetical  consequent — "  There 
must  be  if  there  is  contingent  being."  The  whole  force  of  the  belief 
turns  upon  this  if.  Take  away  contingent  being,  and  consciousness  knows 
nothing  of  the  necessary.  We  deny,  therefore,  the  Cartesian  assumption 
that  we  have  the  idea  of  a  necessary  being  as  an  original  and  absolute 
datum  of  consciousness.  To  admit  its  hypotlietical  character  is  to  resolve 
the  argument  into  the  cosmological.] 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  67 

atively  than  speculative  reason,  demands  the  existence  of 
God.  Our  moral  cognitions  are  wholly  unintelligible  upon 
any  other  scheme  than  that  of  a  personal  God.  The  pecu- 
liarity of  these  cognitions  is  that  they  involve  the  sense  of 
personal  responsibility.  The  right  comes  to  us  in  the  form 
of  commands  and  not  of  simple  propositions ;  it  is  known 
as  duty ;  it  is  felt  to  involve  the  distinction  of  merit  and 
demerit,  or  of  rewards  and  punishments  administered  upon 
the  principle  of  distributive  iustice.     Now 

Three    aspects    m  ^  -"^  ^  •'^ 

which  our  moral  cog-     there  are  three  aspects  in  which  these  cog- 
nitions  lead  to  the  im-       j^-        .  ^^^j.    ^^^  immediate  inference  of  a 

mediate    inference   of  J  J 

this  just  and  right-  jnst  aud  rightcous  God :  1.  Considered  as 
commands  they  imply  an  Author  who  has 
a  right  to  prescribe  laws — an  Author  wdiom  we  are  bound 
to  obey.  A  law  without  a  lawgiver  is  unmeaning  jargon. 
Conscience  appears  in  us  as  the  organ  of  an  authority  not 
its  own.  It  is  in  its  normal  state  the  voice  of  God  in  the 
soul  of  man.  2.  Consider  these  commands  as  giving  rise  to 
a  sense  of  duty,  and  there  emerges  the  idea  of  a  judge  to 
whom  we  are  responsible.  Obligation  and  superior  will  are 
correlative  terms ;  where  there  is  no  superior  will  there  may 
be  rectitude,  but  there  cannot  be  duty.  God  is  in  no  sense 
the  subject  of  obligation.  Conscience,  then,  in  proclaiming 
a  duty  proclaims  a  supreme  will.  3.  Consider  conscience 
as  giving  rise  to  the  conviction  of  good  and  ill  desert,  of 
rewards  and  punishments  justly  and  righteously  distributed 
in  contradistinction  from  mere  pleasures  and  pains,  and  you 
have  first  a  moral  government  directly  affirmed,  and  then  the 
prospect  of  perfect  happiness  to  the  righteous  uncondition- 
ally held  out.  This  connection  betwixt  happiness  and  vir- 
tue must  be  a  sheer  delusion  unless  He  who  promises  is 
able  also  to  perform ;  but  He  cannot  be  able  to  perform  un- 
less He  possesses  unlimited  dominion  over  all  beings,  states 
and  conditions.  Hence  emerges  the  notion  of  an  infinite 
and  all-powerful  Euler,  with  a  will  morally  determined,  as 
well  as  with  intelligence  and  mere  benevolence  of  character. 
This    is    an    outline    of  the    argument  from    our    moral 

68  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

cognitions  -which  might  be  impressively  expanded.     It  is 
enough  to  put  you  in  possession  of  the  steps  of  the  reason- 
ing.     This   argument,  it  is  conceded   by 

Kant  and  Hamilton       rr       x  i     O"       •xtt-it  tt         'Ij. 

upon  this  argument.  ^aut  and  feir  W  iHiam  Hamilton,  is  con- 
clusive and  irresistible.  In  conscience 
they  recognize  an  immediate  affirmation  of  God.  How 
upon  the  principles  of  the  Kantian  philosophy  it  is  any 
more  valid  than  the  arguments  from  speculative  reason,  I 
am  unable  to  comprehend.  If  intelligence  is  false  in  its 
fundamental  utterances,  it  is  difficult  to  see  upon  what 
ground  the  veracity  of  conscience  can  be  consistently  main- 
tained. If  man's  nature  is  a  lie  in  one  respect,  it  may  be  a 
lie  ill  the  other.     Falsus  in  uno,  falsus  in  omnibus. 

But  Avhat  I  wish  particularly  to  impress  upon  you  is, 
that  as  man  rises  to  a  higher  sphere  of 

In  the  higher  sphere  ^  ^  •  -i 

of  life  man  rises  to  Spiritual  lifc,  lic  nscs  to  more  precise  and 
uons  of  God  Tnd  To  clefinitc  couccptious  of  the  character  and 
the  sense  of  responsi-  attributes  of  God,  and  lias  the  highest 
evidence  that  the  subject  which  he  cog- 
nizes in  the  sphere  of  speculation  is  precisely  the  same 
subject  that  meets  him  in  the  sphere  of  duty.  To  the 
notions  of  intelligence  and  goodness  are  now  added  the 
notions  of  rectitude,  of  justice,  of  will.  To  the  relations 
of  a  Creator  and  great  First  Cause  are  now  added  the  rela- 
tions of  law,  of  responsibility,  of  moral  government,  of 
rewards  and  punishments.  Every  element  of  personality 
is  now  secured.  We  have  a  Being  tliat  knows,  that  wills, 
that  judges.  Then,  as  in  the  notion  of  the  ultimate  felicity 
of  virtue  there  is  implied  an  absolute  dominion  over  all 
things  that  exist,  the  God  whose  law  is  virtue  is  seen  to  be 
the  same  as  He  who  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth,  and 
gave  to  them  their  exquisite  beauty  and  order.  There  is 
no  pretext  for  saying  that  intelligence  reveals  one  God  and 
conscience  another.  In  the  notion  of  responsibility,  they 
both  meet,  and  are  found  to  be  one  and  the  same. 

The  sense  of  responsibility,  or  the  authority  of  conscience, 
is  perhaps  the  argument  most  efficacious  of  all  in  keeping 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  69 

alive  the  sense  of  God.      As  long   as  it  is   implicated  in 
the  conviction  of  duty,  men  must  obliterate 

Conscience  an  argu-  J  ' 

ment  for  God  in  our     from  their    miuds  all    moral   distinctions 

homes  and  bosoms.  i/>  ,i  ,  •,        p,i        iTf«r» 

belore  they  can  get  quit  ot  tlie  beliei  oi 
a  God.  It  is  an  argument  which  we  carry  with  us.  It  is 
in  our  homes  and  our  bosoms.  We  need  not  ascend  into 
heaven  to  seek  the  Author  of  the  moral  law,  nor  descend 
into  the  deep  to  learn  the  mystery  of  His  being.  The 
Word  is  nigh  us,  in  our  hearts  and  in  our  mouths. 

If  this  reasoning   be  just,  we   perceive   that  all  moral 

philosophy  must  find   its  ultimate  ground 

God  the  ground  of       -^^  q^^_         rpj^^  distiuctiouS    of    mOral    gOOd 

all  moral  distinctions,  o 

and  the  soul  of  every     aucl  cvil  arc  a  riddlc,  au  enigma,  an  in- 

social  and  political  in-  tit  -pi  •  r^     -\ 

etitution.  explicable  mystery,   it   there  is    no    God. 

The  entire  system  of  social  order,  the  fab- 
ric of  government,  the  criminal  jurisprudence  of  states  be- 
comes unmeaning,  or  is  reduced  to  a  mere  system  of  pru- 
dential and  precautionary  measures  to  prevent  j)hysical 
hurt.  Take  away  God,  and,  considered  in  his  ethical  con- 
stitution, man  becomes  the  sport  and  the  scandal  of  the 
universe.  He  is  au  enormous  lie,  and  those  very  elements 
of  his  being  in  which  he  exults  that  he  is  superior  to  the 
brutes, — those  grand  conceptions  of  the  true,  the  good,  the 
just — are  mere  chimeras,  which  foster  a  pride  that  in  the 
eyes  of  those  who  know  his  real  condition  makes  him 
ridiculous,  and  cheats  him  of  pleasures  that  he  might  enjoy, 
by  .empty  phantoms.  But  if  the  law  of  causation  in  the 
world  of  speculation  and  the  law  of  duty  in  the  moral 
world  are  true  and  faithful  witnesses — and  these  are  the 
principles  which  guarantee  the  argument  in  their  respective 
spheres — then  as  certainly  as  man  has  a  reasonable  soul,  so 
certainly  there  is  a  God.  He  cannot  explain  himself  with- 
out God.  He  perceives  »s  clearly  as  the  light  of  the  sun  that 
either  he  himself  is  a  mere  bundle  of  contradictions,  or  he 
was  made  in  the  image  of  a  supreme  Creator,  who  is  holy 
and  wise  and  good.  Speculative  reason  might  perplex 
itself  about  the  first  substance,  but  when  conscience  speaks 

70  THE    BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

the  personality  of  God  is  as  plain  as  the  law  of  duty.  He 
is  felt  to  be  no  primordial  necessity,  no  self-developing  life 
of  nature,  no  soul  of  the  world ;  but  He  is  Jehovah,  dis- 
tinct from  all  and  yet  pervading  all — the  everlasting  God 
who  speaks  and  it  is  done,  who  commands  and  it  stands  fast. 
III.  There  is  still  a  higher  form  of  life  than  that  of  in- 
.    tellio-ence  or  duty.      There  is  a  state  of 

The    testimony    of  o  J 

man's  highest  form  of  tlic  soul  wliicli  calls  out  cvcry  Spiritual 
energy  in  delighted  and  unimpeded  exer- 
cise. It  transfers  to  the  elements  of  intelligence  and  obli- 
gation an  element  borrowed  from  the  heart.  It  is  the  ele- 
ment  of  love — an  element  involving  not  only  tlie  cognition 
of  the  true,  the  just,  the  right,  but  the  cognition  of  the 
beautiful  and  glorious.  Rectitude  is  no  longer  appre- 
hended as  a  duty,  and  clothed  in  the  cold  garb  of  author- 
ity ;  it  comes  to  us  in  the  freshness  and  sweetness  of  life, 
and  we  delight  in  it  as  the  highest  and  purest  energy  of  the 
soul.^  This  new  form  of  life  is  religion.  To  know  that 
there  is  a  God  is  not  to  be  religious ;  to  know  that  virtue  is 
our  law  is  not  to  be  religious  ;  even  to  practise  from  the 
sense  of  obligation  is  not  to  be  religious.  You  must  con- 
template God  under  the  forms  of  beauty — the  beauty  of 
holiness — and  imitate  His  life  of  spontaneous  and  blessed 
rectitude  before  you  become  truly  religious.  Hence,  in 
religion  every  department  of  our  nature  is  called  into  play, 
and  called  into  play  under  the  law  of  love,  or  worship,  or 
adoration.  Now  when  our  nature  reaches  this  stage,  the 
knowledge  of  God  as  existing  becomes  a  fixed  element  of 
our  consciousness.  We  have  the  witness  in  ourselves.  But 
this  stage  is  never  perfectly  reached  in  this  life,  and  no- 
,     where  reached  at  all,  except  among  those 

Tlie     principle      of  /  x  o 

worship  universal  in     who  arc  illuminated  by  the  grace  of  the 

gospel.     But  in  all  men  there  exist  traces 

1  [The  religious  nature  manifests  the  identity  of  the  object  of  its  wor- 
ship with  the  God  revealed  in  conscience,  tlirough  the  medium  of  the 
notion  of  rectitude,  which  is  the  measure  of  holiness  objectively  consid- 
ered. The  moral  ruler  of  conscience  is  the  God  of  beauty  and  glory  of 
the  heart.] 

Lect.  II.]  THE    BEING    OF    GOD.  71 

of  the  principle  of  worship — there  exist  sentiments  of 
pious  veneration  which  show  what  man's  nature  normally 
is,  and  which  serve  to  complete  the  argument  from  the 
human  soul  for  the  being  of  God.  Men  everywhere 
must  worship.  They  feel  that  their  being  is  not  complete 
without  an  object  of  worship.  Hence  the  schemes  of 
superstition,  of  idolatry;  hence  the  temples,  the  altars, 
the  sacrifices  which  exist  among  all  people.  Hence, 
too,  the  systems  of  Divination,  of  Sorcery,  of  Magic. 
There  is  a  tie  which  binds  man  to  the  spiritual  world. 
He  craves  communion  with  it  and  resorts  to  vain  eiforts  to 
penetrate  its  mysteries.  As  the  religious  principle  exists 
in  the  form  of  a  blind  craving  where  it  has  any  develop- 
ment in  the  life,  we  can  conclude  nothing  from  it  as  to  the 
character  of  the  beino;  it  seeks.  Having  lost  the  element 
of  a  genuine  adoration,  grounded  in  the  ineifable  holiness 
of  God,  it  creates  objects  for  itself  that  are  but  the  reflec- 
tion of  the  moral  state  of  the  worshipper's  own  soul.  But 
the  reliy-ious  sentiment  does  certainly  prove 

If  man  s   nature   is  ~  •'    J- 

to  worship,  there  must  that  tlicrc  uiust  be  au  objcct  corrcspoudiug 
to  it.  If  it  is  the  nature  of  man  to  wor- 
ship, there  must  be  a  being  to  be  worshipped,  or  that  nature 
is  again  a  lie.  But  when  this  law  of  worship  is  developed 
under  the  gospel,  it  becomes  not  merely  the  knowledge  of 
God,  but  it  becomes  communion  with  God.  It  reveals  His 
personality  in  the  most  convincing  light,  because  we  know 
that  He  speaks  to  us  and  we  speak  to  Him.  It  reveals 
His  glory.  Here  our  knowledge  reaches  its  culmination. 
We  find  the  true  centre  and  rest  of  our  being — to  glorify 
God  and  to  enjoy  Him  for  ever. 

I  have  now  given  you  an  outline  of  the  arguments  by 
_  .,,  .    ,,    ,  .        which  man  fortifies  his  faith  in  the  being 

Faith  in   the   being  O 

of  God  springs  out  of     of  God.     I  havc  taken  the  human  soul  in 

man's  nature.  i-i  /.  /••,  ••,        it/. 

tlie  higher  forms  ot  its  spiritual  hie — as 
rational,  as  moral,  as  religious,  and  I  have  shown  that  the 
laws,  under  which  these  departments  of  his  being  operate 
and  act,  lead  necessarily  to  the  immediate  inference   of  a 

72  THE   BEING   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  II. 

God,  infinite,  eternal,  necessary,  intelligent,  moral,  volun- 
tary, free — a  personal  Being  ineifably  glorious  in  the  light 
of  His  holiness.  I  have  pictured  the  normal  progress  of 
reason,  or  rather  of  the  whole  spiritual  man,  and  I  have 
shown  that  man  finds  the  complement  of  his  intelligence, 
his  conscience  and  his  propensity  to  worship  only  in  such  a 
living  and  personal  Jehovah.  The  argument  lies  close  to  him 
— so  close,  that  if  he  can  know  any  thing  he  can  know  God. 

You  can  now  understand  the  sense  in  which  the  doctrine 
In  what  sense  the  should  bc  undcrstood  that  the  knowledge 
knowledge  of  God  is  of  God  is  inuatc.  Thc  thcory  of  innate 
ideas  in  the  sense  of  formed  and  developed 
propositions  has  been  long  since  exploded.  So  far  as  any 
objective  reality  is  concerned,  the  child  is  born  Avith  a  mind 
perfectly  blank.  Consciousness  is  dormant  until  experience 
awakens  it  by  the  presentation  of  an  object.  But  though 
destitute  of  formed  knowledges,  the  mind  has  capacities 
which  are  governed  by  laws  that  constitute  the  conditions 
of  intelligence.  Under  the  guidance  of  these  laws  it  comes 
to  know,  and  whatever  knowledge  it  obtains  in  obedience  to 
them  is  natural.  Now,  as  the  knowledge  of  God  necessarily 
emerges  from  the  operation  of  these  laws  as  soon  as  our 
faculties  are  sufficiently  matured,  that  knowledge  is  natural 
— as  natural  as  that  of  the  material  world  or  of  the  existence 
of  our  own  souls.  We  cannot  think  rightly  without  think- 
ing God.  In  the  laws  of  intelligence,  of  duty  and  of  wor- 
ship He  has  given  us  the  guides  to  His  OAvn  sanctuary,  and 
if  we  fail  to  know  Him,  it  is  because  we  have  first  failed  to 
knoAV  ourselves.  This  is  the  conclusion  to  which  we  are 
legitimately  conducted. 

This  view  of  the  subject  dispenses  with  the  necessity  of 

postulating   a   presentative  knowledge   of 

ness,  and"' our  know-     God,    through    a   faculty   of  apprchensiou 

ledge  of  God  mediate     adapted   to    thc   coguitlon    of  the    Divine 

and  representative.  i  ~ 

Being,  as  perception  is  adapted  to  the  cog- 
nition of  external  objects.  God  is  not  given  to  us  as  a  phe- 
nomenon of  experience.     There  is  no  God-consciousness  apart 

Lect.  II.]  THE   BEING   OF   GOD,  73 

from  the  necessary  inferences  of  reason.  All  our  knowledge 
of  Him  is  mediate  and  representative.  He  is  what  intelli- 
gence finds  in  the  inquiries  which  it  raises  upon  the  phe- 
nomena of  experience.  But  the  fact  that  philosophers  have 
The  conviction  of  Tesortcd  to  sucli  thcorics  as  those  of  the  in- 
God  lies  close  to  our  tuitioual  thcologj  is  a  proof  of  how  closely 
the  conviction  of  a  God  lies  to  our  nature. 
INIen  have  felt,  wdth  irresistible  certainty,  that  He  exists. 
The  fact  being  indisputable,  when  they  have  been  driven  by 
sophistical  objections  from  one  method  of  certifying  it,  they 
have  immediately  resorted  to  another.  When  they  have 
been  unable  to  vindicate  it  as  an  inference,  they  have  re- 
solved it  into  immediate  perception ;  when  they  could  not 
ground  it  in  discursive  reason,  they  have  grounded  it  in 
faith,  and  made  faith  a  faculty  instead  of  a  mental  function. 
The  import  of  all  is,  that  the  notion  of  God  cannot  be  ex- 
pelled from  the  human  soul.  He  is,  and  our  nature  pro- 
claims that  He  is,  however  we  may  explain  the  manner  of 
the  fact. 



WE  have  seen  that  the  human  mind  has  been  constituted 
with  a  special  reference  to  the  knowledge  of  God.     It 
was  made  to  know  Him.     It  contains  elements  of  faith,  or 
laws  of  intelligence,  which,  when  normally 

Man   made   for  the  t     i      ,         j  i  i  i* 

knowledge  of  God,  applied  to  the  phenomena  of  experience, 
necessitate  the  inference  that  there  is  a 
God,  and,  apart  from  all  disturbing  influences,  would  con- 
duct to  a  just  apprehension  and  a  true  worship  of  His  name. 
The  very  principles  by  which  man  is  capable  of  knowing 
any  thing  have  their  proper  termination  in  God.  Indeed, 
he  cannot  justly  be  said  to  know  at  all  without  the  recogni- 
tion of  the  First  Cause.  This  knowledge,  we  have  seen,  is 
not  a  remote  deduction,  but  an  immediate  inference.  The 
finite  and  contingent  give  the  infinite  and  eternal  upon  the 
same  principle  on  which  thought  gives  existence.  The  ar- 
gument, The  world  exists,  therefore  God  is,  is  of  the  same 
kind  with  the  celebrated  enthymeme  of  Des  Cartes  :  Cogifo 
ergo  sum.  But  while  the  grounds  of  the  knowledge  of  God 
are  thus  laid  in  the  very  structure  of  the  mind,  while  its 
primitive  and  indestructible  faiths  find  their  natural  ter- 
mination in  Him,  it  is  yet  matter  of  experience  that  no  one 
has  ever,  in  point  of  fact,  attained  to  right 
yo^^.oes  no  a  ain  ^^^  worthy  conccptioiis  of  the  nature  and 
character  of  God  by  the  unassisted  light  of 
reason.  The  world  by  wisdom  knew  not  God.  Here,  then, 
is  a  singular  phenomenon.  Reason,  under  sound  and 
healthful  culture,  must,  from  its  very  laws,  reflect  the  image 


Lect.  III.]    man's  natueal  ignorance  of  god.  75 

of  God.  INIatured  by  a  normal  growth,  it  could  not  fail  to 
find  in  Him  the  source  of  knowledge  as  well  as  the  fountain 
of  being.  Man  has  implicitly,  therefore,  what  he  never 
realizes  explicitly — a  germ  which  never  expands  and  ma- 
tures— a  seed  which  never  springs  up  into  a  vigorous  plant 
nor  bears  healthful  fruit.  This  is  the  positive  testimony  of 
Scripture,  as  well  as  the  dictate  of  observation  and  experi- 
ence :  "  Because  that  which  may  be  known  of  God  is  mani- 
fest in  them ;  for  God  hath  showed  it  unto  them.  For  the 
invisible  things  of  Him  from  the  creation  of  the  world  are 
clearly  seen,  being  understood  by  the  things  that  are  made, 
even  His  eternal  power  and  Godhead ;  so  that  they  are  with- 
out excuse.  Because  that  when  they  knew  God,  they  glori- 
fied Him  not  as  God,  neither  were  thankful,  but  became 
vain  in  their  imaginations,  and  their  foolish  heart  was  dark- 
ened. Professing  Uiemselves  to  be  wise,  they  became  fools, 
and  changed  the  glory  of  the  uncorruptible  God  into  an 
image  made  like  to  corruptible  man,  and  to  birds  and  four- 
footed  beasts,  and  creeping  things."  ^ 

The  question  now  arises,  How  is  this  singular  anomaly  to 
be  explained?     How  is   it  that  while  all 

A  siugular  anomaly.  i  i  i  •       /> 

may  know,  and  ought  to  know,  none  in  fact 
do  know?  To  answer  this  question  is  the  design  of  the 
present  lecture. 

But  let  us  settle,  in  the  first  place,  precisely  the  nature  of 
that  ignorance  with  which  we  have  to  deal.  If  it  were  ab- 
solute and  entire,  if  the  reigning  doctrine  of  the  human  race 
were  the  hypothesis  of  Atheism,  it  would  be  impossible  to 
vindicate  Theism  upon  any  grounds  of  reason.  Were  there 
no  sense  of  God  and  no  sense  of  religion,  it  would  be  as  idle 
to  speculate  upon  theology,  as  to  speculate  upon  morals 
where  no  sense  of  obligation  and  of  rectitude  obtains.  The 
argument  of  our  last  lecture  sliows  conclusively  that  a  vague 
sentiment  of  religion,  of  dependence,  responsibility  and  wor- 
ship, and  a  corresponding  conviction  of  the  existence  and 
moral  government  of  a  supreme  intelligence,  are  coextensive 
'  Rom.  i.  19-24. 

76  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  hi. 

■with  the  race.     What  we  affirm  is,  that  while  the  existence 

A  more  precise  state-     o^  ^ocl  and  a  general  sense  of  onr  relations 

ment  of  man's  natural     to  Him  are  SO  groundcd  in  the  soul  as  to 

ignorance  of  God.  ,  ,  i       •     f»  i  t     • 

make  man,  wherever  he  is  found,  a  religious 
creature,  no  just  and  consistent  notions  of  His  nature,  His 
character  and  His  attributes  are  anywhere  compassed  by 
natural  light ;  and  that  wherever  apprehended  at  all.  He  is 
apjjrehended  in  no  such  light  as  to  generate  the  dispositions 
and  emotions  which  constitute  true  piety.  In  other  words, 
apart  from  revelation.  He  is  nowhere  rightly  represented  in 
thought,  and  even  with  revelation  He  is  nowhere  truly 
loved  and  worshipped  without  special  grace.  The  speculative 
knowledge  of  the  heathen  is  not  only  defective,  but  grossly 
erroneous ;  and  spiritual  cognition  is  the  product  of  the  Holy 
Ghost  alone  by  the  Gospel.  That  this  is  the  truth,  the  re- 
ligious history  of  mankind  abundantly  demonstrates.  What 
Paul  wrote  centuries  ago  has  always  been  true  of  those  who 
are  destitute  of  the  light  of  revelation — there  is  none  that 
understandeth,  there  is  none  that  seeketh  after  God.  Amid 
all  the  temples  and  altars  and  sacrifices  and  costly  oblations 
which  figure  in  heathen  and  superstitious  worship,  there  is 
nowhere  an  offering  to  the  true,  except  as  to  the  unknown 
God.  Throughout  the  earth  there  is  not  a  heart  which 
beats  in  love  at  the  mention  of  His  name  or  is  touched  with 
a  sentiment  of  pure  devotion  to  His  service,  except  where 
the  Word  and  the  Spirit  of  Christ  have  taken  their  lodg- 
ment.    The  whole  world  lieth  in  wicked- 

Explanation  demanded.  in  i    •  i  • 

ness.     How  shall  we  explain  this  mourn- 
ful   phenomenon  ? 

I.  It  is  clear  that  this  state  of  things  is  most  unnatural  in 

the  strict  and  proper  sense  of  the  term  ;  that  is,  it  contradicts 

the    ideal    of  humanity.     It   is   equally  clear  that  a  force 

originally  foreign  must  have  entered  as  a 

A  foreign  disturbing     ^lig^urbing   clemeut   into  the  development 

element;  twofold.  ^    '-'  e>  i 

of  reason,  and  turned  it  aside  from  the  line 
of  its  right  direction.  There  must  be  a  steady  and  perma- 
nent cause,  where  the  effects  are  so  uniform  and  constant. 

Lect.  III.]     man's  natural  ignorance  op  god.  77 

We  are  justified  by  Scripture,  and  warranted  by  observation 
and  analogy,  in  asserting  that  this  foreign,  disturbing  force 
is  twofold  :  the  power  of  sin  as  a  principle  of  evil  within  us, 
a  law  of  death  continually  counter-working  the  law  of  the 
Spirit  of  life ;  and  the  power  of  Satan,  the  evil  one  himself, 
whose  influence  upon  the  human  race  has  only  been  increased 
by  the  success  of  his  first  experiment.  These  two  powers, 
in  their  joint  operation,  are  sufficient  to  explain  the  aston- 
ishing anomalies  of  the  religious  history  of  the  species.  To 
these  two  causes,  the  depravity  of  man  and  the  malignity  of 
Satan,  we  owe  it,  that  while  there  is  a  general,  if  not  an 
universal,  conviction  of  the  existence  of  a  Supreme  Being, 
when  men  undertake  to  frame  a  just  and  consistent  concep- 
tion of  His  character,  relations  and  works  they  pass  through 
every  conceivable  shade  of  error,  from  the  disgusting 
grossness  of  Fetichism  to  the  deceitful  refinements  of  Pan- 
theism. The  God  they  represent  in  thought  is  often  a  mon- 
ster, sometimes  a  beast,  but  never  the  living  and  true  Jeho- 
vah. Let  us  advert  in  the  first  place  to  the  power  of  Satan. 
1.  Since  the  fall  this  malignant  spirit  has  entered  into 
,     , .  ,      ,  human  nature  in  a  manner  somewhat  anal- 

The    kind    and    ex- 
tent of  Satan's  power     ogous  to  that  in  wliich  tlic  Spirit  of  God 

in  and  over  men.  i        -n       .       ,1       -1  .         />it  tt     ^ 

dwells  m  the  hearts  or  believers.  He  has 
an  intimate  access  to  our  faculties,  and  though  he  cannot, 
like  the  Holy  Ghost,  work  at  their  roots  so  as  to  change 
and  transform  their  tendencies,  he  can  yet  ply  them  with 
representations  and  delusions  wliich  shall  effectually  incline 
them  to  will  and  to  do  according  to  his  pleasure.  He  can 
cheat  the  understanding  with  appearances  of  truth,  fascinate 
the  fancy  with  pictures  of  beauty,  and  mock  the.  heart  with 
semblances  of  good.  By  a  whisper,  a  touch,  a  secret  sug- 
gestion, he  can  give  an  impulse  to  our  thoughts,  and  turn 
them  into  channels  which  shall  exactly  subserve  the  pur- 
poses of  his  malice.  In  all  this  he  does  no  violence  to  the 
laws  of  our  nature.  He  insinuates  himself  into  our  facul- 
ties, and  works  by  them  and  through  them  according  to 
their  own  constitution.     He  disturbs  neither  the  spontaneity 

(8  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  III. 

of  the  understanding  nor  the  freedom  of  the  will.  As  the 
work  of  the  Holy  Ghost  in  the  saints  is  by  no  means  incon- 
sistent with  their  full  responsibility  and  their  entire  moral 
agency,  so  the  work  of  the  devil  in  the  rcin'obate  makes  it 
none  the  less  their  work,  and  leaves  these  dupes  of  his  malig- 
nity and  craft  without  excuse  for  their  sin.  Unlike  the 
Holy  Ghost,  he  has  no  creative  power.  He  can  impart  no 
new  nature.  He  can  only  avail  himself  of  what  already 
exists  to  his  hand.  His  power,  like  that  of  every  other 
finite  being,  consists  in  obedience  to  the  laws  of  the  subject 
upon  which  he  operates.  Its  secret  lies  in  his  knowledge 
and  his  skill.  In  our  fallen  condition  he  has  no  need  to 
change  our  nature ;  it  is  already  adapted  to  his  purposes. 
It  is  a  fit  instrument  for  executing  his  fell  designs  against 
the  kingdom  and  the  glory  of  God  upon  earth.  These 
representations  of  the  indwelling  of  Satan  in  the  human 
soul,  and  of  his  consequent  power  and  influence  for  evil, 
are  the  uniform  teachings  of  Scripture.  He  is  there  de- 
scribed as  the  prince  of  the  power  of  the  air ;  the  sjiirit 
that  now  worketh  in  the  children  of  disobedience ;  the  god 
of  this  world,  who  blinds  the  minds  and  hardens  the  heart 
of  the  impenitent  and  reprobate  and  seals  them  up  in  final 
unbelief;  the  strong  man  armed,  who  holds  undisturbed 
possession  of  the  palace  of  the  human  soul,  until  a  stronger 
than  he  invades  and  casts  him  out.  Men,  on  the  other 
hand,  are  represented  as  his  servants,  his  children,  his  cap- 
tives, his  dupes,  and  the  obedient  subjects  of  his  will.  His 
dwelling  in  them  as  a  spiritual  fact  was  authenticated  be- 
yond the  possibility  of  doubt  by  its  extraordinary  manifes- 
tations in  the  case  of  the  demoniacs  of  the  New  Testament. 
To  all  this  must  be  added  that,  in  that  pregnant  passage 
which  spans  the  history  of  time,  the  contest  betwixt  light 
and  darkness — betwixt  the  children  of  God  and  the  im^ieni- 
tent — is  described  as  a  contest  betwixt  two  opposing  armies, 
the  heads  and  leaders  of  which  are  the  Seed  of  the  woman 
and  the  Scrjient.  This  passage  teaches  us,  too,  that  the 
kingdom  of  darkness  is  not  a  series  of  occasional  insurrec- 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  79 

tions,  but  an  organized  conspiracy  of  evil.  Its  deeds  of 
wickedness  are  not  sudden,  spasmodic,  extemporaneous 
eifusions  of  desperate  and  impotent  malice ;  they  are  parts 
of  a  plan,  a  great,  comprehensive  scheme,  conceived  by  a 
master  mind  and  adjusted  with  exquisite  skill,  for  extin- 
guishing the  glory  of  God.  The  consolidated  empire  for  so 
many  centuries  of  Paganism,  the  persecuting  edicts  of  im- 
.   ,  perial    Rome,  the  rise   and   brilliant   suc- 

An    organized    sys-       a  ' 

tern  of  evil  in  the  ccss  of  Mohanimedauism,  the  corruptions 
of  the  Papacy,  and  the  widespread  deso- 
lations of  modern  infidelity,  can  never  be  adequately  under- 
stood without  contemplating  them  as  parts  of  an  organized 
system  of  evil,  of  which  the  gigantic  intellect  of  the  devil 
is  the  author,  while  men  have  been  the  guilty  and  unwit- 
ting instruments.  They  have  answered  his  ends  and  played 
obsequiously  into  his  hands,  while  they  vainly  supposed 
that  they  were  accomplishing  purposes  of  their  own.  He 
has,  in  his  sphere,  a  providence  in  imitation  of  that  of  God, 
and  to  this  providence  his  children  and  subjects  are  adroitly 
moulded.  They  take  their  place  and  act  their  part  under 
his  superintending  eye. 

The  ultimate  design  of  Satan  in  all  his  machinations  is  to 
-,,   ^  .      ,  „  ,        insult  the  majesty  of  God.     A  liar  from 

The  design  of  Satan  J        *' 

as  to  God,  and  as  to  the  beginning,  his  first  lie  was  a  blasphemy, 
and  every  other  has  been  like  unto  it. 
His  great  aim,  in  reference  to  man,  is  to  transfuse  into  the 
human  soul  his  own  views  of  the  Divine  character,  works 
and  government.  His  ready  access  to  our  faculties,  his  in- 
timate union  with  us  by  virtue  of  our  native  depravity, 
his  familiar  acquaintance  with  the  laws  of  our  being,  his 
long  experience  and  his  angelic  skill,  render  it  easy  for  him 
to  insinuate  his  own  thoughts  and  impart  his  own  spirit  to 
the  minds  of  those  whom  grace  has  not  rescued  from  his 
hands.  Where  he  cannot  destroy  he  perverts  and  cor- 
rupts. As  he  cannot  extinguish  reason,  and  therefore  can- 
not utterly  eiface  the  general  sense  of  a  superior  power,  he 
exerts  his  ingenuity  to  distort  all  the  elements  of  reason, 

80  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  III. 

understanding,  conscience  and  religion  into  vehicles  of  slan- 
derous impressions  of  God.  As  we  must  have  a  God  and 
a  religion,  he  will  take  care  that  the  God  whom  we  acknow- 
ledge shall  be  unworthy  of  respect,  and  the  religion  which 
we  j)rofcss  a  disgrace  to  our  nature.  AVith  such  a  teacher, 
and  with  such  hearts  as  ours  have  been  rendered  liy  the 
fall,  it  is  no  wonder  that  men  have  everywhere  come  short 
of  the  glory  of  God  and  changed  it  into  an  image  made 
like  to  corruptible  man,  and  to  birds  and  four-footed  beasts 
and  creeping  things. 

It  is  a  fearful  truth  that  our  nature  is  in  such  intimate 

alliance   with    the   Devil.      But    there   is 

Nothing  incredible     j^^thing  incrcdiblc  in   it.      If  there  be  a 

in  all  this.  o 

spiritual  world  and  we  are  spiritual  be- 
ings, that  world  must  touch  us  in  some  points.  God's  works 
are  not  disjointed  and  isolated.  All  is  dependent  upon  each, 
and  each  is  dependent  upon  all.  The  eternal  throne  is  the 
only  independent  thing  in  the  universe.  That  spirit  can  be 
present  to  spirit  is  manifest  from  the  daily  intercourse  of 
life,  from  the  power  of  friendship,  and  especially  from  the 
ties  of  the  family.  That  spirit  can  enter  into  actual  union 
with  spirit  is  apparent  from  the  fundamental  facts  of  re- 
demption. Christ  is  in  us  aiid  we  in  Him,  and  God  in 
both.  Believers,  too,  are  one  with  each  other.  The  union 
of  Satan  with  the  world  is  not  the  same  in  kind  with  the 
union  of  Christ  and  His  people ;  it  is  only  analogous  to  it. 
He  is  not  our  sin  in  the  full  sense  that  Christ  is  our  life. 
He  has  no  creative  power,  but  he  is  our  tempter,  our 
seducer,  an  ever-present  prompter  of  evil  to  our  thoughts 
and  hearts,  an  ever-present  sophist  to  disarm  truth  of  its 
point  and  to  commend  falsehood  to  our  embrace.  To  say 
that  all  this  is  mysterious  is  to  say  nothing  to  the  point. 
The  soul  is  a  mystery,  thought  itself  is  a  mystery,  all  know- 
ledge begins  and  ends  in  mystery.  The  moral  history  of 
man,  whether  with  respect  to  the  fall  or  redemption,  loses 
itself  in  clouds  of  mystery  which  no  understanding  can 
penetrate  but  the  infinite  understanding  of  God.     It  is  for 

Lect.  III.]     man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  81 

us  to  accept  the  facts,  however  their  explanations  transcend 
our  faculties. 

2.  While,  however,  man's  ignorance  of  God  is  to  be 
largely  attributed  to  the  craft  and  sophistry  of  the  Devil, 
we  are  not  to  forget  the  human  side  of  the  phenomenon,  and 
construe  ourselves  into  innocent  victims  and  dupes.  We 
have  already  said  that  Satan  does  no  violence  to  the  liberty 
or  faculties  of  man.  He  avails  himself  of  the  constitution 
of  our  own  nature,  and  especially  of  our  depravity  as  fallen 
beings.  He  gives  an  impetus  and  direction  to  our  own 
spontaneous  tendencies.  His  power  is  purely  moral.  Apart 
from  our  corruption  he  can  only  annoy ;  he  cannot  deceive. 
To  understand,  therefore,  the  immediate  cause  of  man's  mis- 
representations of  God,  we  must  consider  the  power  of  de- 
pravity as  a  law  of  abnormal  develop- 
^^^in,  a  iseasem    e     j-^g^^   -^  ^j^g  goul.     As  a  pcrvadiug  State 

it  has  a  necessary  tendency  to  distort  the 
faculties  from  their  legitimate  bent  and  expression.  It  is  to 
the  mind  what  disease  is  to  the  body.  Holiness,  on  the 
other  hand,  is  health,  and  communion  with  God,  life  and 
power.  We  might  as  reasonably  expect  that  the  secretions 
of  the  animal  system  should  go  on  comfortably  and  smoothly 
amidst  the  heat  and  agony  of  a  fever,  as  expect  sound  con- 
clusions in  relation  to  Divine  subjects  from  a  reason  to  which 
Gocl  is  not  present  as  the  Father  of  lights.  Sin  is  as  really 
blindness  to  the  mind  as  it  is  hardness  to  the  heart,  and  the 
soul  under  the  dominion  of  sin  must  be  turned  aside  from 
the  normal  evolution  of  its  real  and  original  tendencies. 
Its  activities,  however  intense  and  vigorous,  must  be  set  in 
the  wrong  direction.  It  is  a  great  error  to  imagine  that 
depravity  confines  its  mischief  to  the  heart,  or  to  those  fac- 
ulties which  are  immediately  conversant  about  the  distinc- 
tions of  right  and  wrong.     Its  seat  is  the 

It  extends  to  all  our  i  jj.  '       ^       i  i_  i       c 

p^^^j,,.g  soul,  and  not  any  smgle  department  of  our 

spiritual  nature,  and  as  disease  extends  its 

influence  to  all  the  functions  of  the  body,  so  sin  extends  to 

all  the  powers  and  faculties  of  our  being.     In  sin,  therefore. 

Vol.  L— 6 

82  man's   natural   ignorance   of   god.      [Lect.  III. 

as  the  disturbance  of  the  normal  exercise  of  our  faculties,  as 
distorting  and  perverting  our  energies,  as  a  law  of  abnormal 
development,  we  see  a  cause  that  is  adequate  to  explain 
the  phenomenon  in  question.  But  this  general  view  is 
not  sufficient  to  content  our  thoughts.  We  look  abroad 
upon   the   world,   and  as  we   contemplate 

A  more    partinilar        .■>  •pi-ir>  n        t     •  ,i 

statement  neoUfui.  ^he  manitold  lorms  01  religious  error,  the 
various  superstitions,  the  disgusting  rites 
of  worship,  the  monstrous  and  hideous  symbols  of  the 
Godhead,  and  the  cruel  penances  and  gross  immoralities 
which  prevail  in  heathen  lands — when  we  consider  all  the 
abominations  which  have  long  passed  and  still  pass  under 
the  sacred  name  of  worship — we  wish  to  see  how  these  errors 
have  been  engendered,  and  how  they  have  been  propagated 
and  spread.  It  does  not  satisfy  us  to  trace  them  to  sin  in 
the  general.  That  does  not  explain  how  these  errors  rather 
than  others  have  arisen.  We  want  to  know  tlie  causes 
which  have  set  the  human  mind  in  these  particular  direc- 
tions. We  desire  to  see  the  forms  which  sin  has  assumed  in 
producing  these  disastrous  effects.  The  general  notion  of 
depravity  already  contains  in  it  the  notion  that  man  must 
be  ignorant  of  God,  but  there  must  be  special  influences 
of  depravity  to  account  for  the  enormous  lies  which  have 
taken  the  nartie  of  truth,  and  the  awful  blasphemies  which 
have  taken  the  name  of  worship. 

We  do  not  pretend  to  be  able  to  indicate  the  immediate 
origin  of  all  the  errors  that  prevail.  That  would  require  an 
amount  of  learning,  an  amount  of  philosophy  and  an  amount 
of  historical  detail  altogether  unsuited,  even  if  we  possessed 
them,  to  lectures  like  these.  Our  task  is  humbler  and  more 
limited.  We  propose  to  illustrate  how"  de- 
dcpnivuy!' ^^^^"^^ °^  pravity  enters  as  a  disturbing  and  pervert- 
ing element  into  the  sphere  of  speculation, 
and  gives  rise  to  false  gods ;  how  it  enters  into  the  sphere 
of  morality,  and  corrupts  the  first  principles  of  duty ;  and 
how  it  enters  into  the  sphere  of  worship,  and  converts  the 
temple  of  God  into  the   abode  of  monsters.     Man   never 

Lect.  III.]     man's   natural   IGNORANCE   OF   GOD.  83 

degrades  God  until  he  has  first  degraded  himself,  and  the 
degradation  of  God  keeps  pace  with  the  degradation  of  him- 
self. He  must  become  unnatural  before  he  can  have  an  un- 
natural religion. 

(1.)  Let  us  examine,  first,  the  influence  of  depravity  upon 
the  speculative  knowledge  of  God.     This 

Its  influence  on  the        •        ^        ^   •      -t       n  ^  ^     t  lj.j' 

speculative  knowledge  IS  the  kiud  01  kuowlcdgc  Contemplated  m  a 
of  God  through  the     gyg^gj^  ^f  gound  philosophv  or  metaphvsics. 

reason.  •'  i  i     ^  i     ^ 

It  is  the  knowledg-e  which  results  from  the 
application  of  the  law  of  causation  to  the  phenomena  of  ex- 
perience. This  species  of  knowledge,  one  would  think, 
being  so  accessible,  lying  so  near  to  our  faculties,  ought  to 
be  sound  and  true ;  and  yet  it  is  always  erroneous,  defective 
and  debasing  when  not  corrected  by  Divine  revelation. 
]N'ow,  in  this  sphere,  sin  first  appears  in  the  form  of  vain 

speculations.     Those  speculations  are  vain 

Tanity  of  mind.  i  •    i  i  •  i  i     i 

which  relate  to  questions  that  transcend  the 
scope  of  our  faculties — which  undertake  to  comprehend  the 
incomprehensible  and  to  carry  knowledge  beyond  its  first 
principles.  The  creature,  as  dependent  and  finite,  can  never 
hope  to  compass  an  absolute  knowledge  of  any  thing.  In- 
telligence begins  with  principles  that  must  be  accepted  and 
not  explained  ;  and  in  applying  these  principles  to  the  phe- 
nomena of  experience,  apparent  contradictions  constantly 
emerge  that  require  patience  and  further  knowledge  to  re- 
solve them.  But  the  mind,  anxious  to  know  all  and  restless 
under  doubt  and  uncertainty,  is  tempted  to  renounce  the  first 
principles  of  reason  and  to  contradict  the  facts  which  it  daily 
observes.  It  seeks  consistency  of  thought,  and  rather  than 
any  gaps  shall  be  left  unfilled,  it  plunges  every  thing  into 
hopeless  confusion.  Instead  of  accepting  the  laws  of  intelli- 
gence, and  patiently  following  the  light  of  reason,  and  sub- 
mitting to  ignorance  where  ignorance  is  the  lot  of  his  nature, 
as  limited  and  finite,  and  joyfully  receiving  the  partial 
knowledge  which  is  his  earthly  inheritance,  man,  under  the 
impulse  of  curiosity,  had  rather  make  a  world  that  he  does 
understand  than  admit  one  which  he  cannot  comprehend. 

84  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  Ill, 

When  he  cannot  stretch  himself  to  the  infinite  dimensions 

of  truth,  he  contracts  truth  to  his  own  little  measure.     This 

is  what  the  Apostle  means  by  vanity  of  mind.     To  illustrate 

it  by  an  example :  Reason  asks,  and  asks 

Example.  it-) 

very  properly,  vV  hence  came  the  world '. 
The  law  of  causation,  an  original  and  therefore  an  incompre- 
hensible faith — a  principle  to  be  accepted,  not  proved — 
answers  that  it  was  created.  Curiosity  asks :  How  is  it  pos- 
sible that  a  thing  can  be  created  out  of  nothing  ?  and  because 
it  cannot  comprehend  the  mystery  of  the  commencement  of 
being,  it  fancies  a  contradiction  in  the  notion  of  creation,  and 
then  denies  the  original  principle  of  faith,  which  positively 
affirms  that  God  is  a  Creator.  It  must  know  all,  or  it  will 
know  nothing.  Apparent  contradictions,  accepted  as  real, 
force  it  upon  hypotheses  which  the  primitive  data  of  intelli- 
gence do  not  justify,  and  which,  therefore,  must  be  false. 
So  with  the  immortality  of  the  soul.  It  is  an  elementary 
principle    of    reason,    a   spontaneous    and 

Another  example.  n  •   ^  o     i  ^  t\ 

necessary  faith  oi  the  human  race.  But 
instead  of  accepting  it  as  a  fact  as  certain  as  our  conscious- 
ness, and  waiting  for  further  light  to  solve  the  mysteries 
which  comj)ass  it,  .vain  speculation  undertakes  to  reconcile  it 
with  the  double  fact  of  the  unity  of  man  as  compounded  of 
soul  and  body,  and  the  dissolution  of  the  body ;  and  because 
it  fails  to  make  thought  consistent  with  itself,  denies  what 
its  own  nature  intuitively  affirms.  It  pronounces  immor- 
tality to  be  impossible,  because  the  identity  of  man  depends 
upon  the  coexistence  of  soul  and  body,  and  the  body  un- 
questionably perishes.  The  problem  in  all  speculation  is 
harmony  of  view ;  thought  must  be  consistent  with  itself. 
Aiming  at  this  ideal,  a  creature  of  imperfect  knowledge 
must  often  be  tempted  to  deny  the  plainest  truths,  because 
it  cannot  see  how  they  are  to  be  made  to  correspond  with 
other  truths  which  are  equally  indisputable.  Difficulties 
appear  as  contradictions,  and  as  the  mind  cannot  think  at 
all  but  in  obedience  to  the  laws  of  identity  and  contradiction, 
these  difficulties  must  lead  it  into  serious  and  fatal  error. 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  85 

But  were  the  reason  sound  and  healthful,  it  would  perceive 
at  once  that  there  could  be  no  contradiction  in  the  case — 
that  things  equally  proved  to  be  true  must  be  harmonious ; 
and  it  would  instantly  resolve  all  further  perplexity  into  its 
ignorance,  and  wait  patiently  for  more  light.  In  this  im- 
patience to  compass  consistency  of  thought, 

This  vanity  of  mind,  ^  •         j  j     coufusiou    aS    tO    the   boUudaricS 

proof  of  tlie  disturbing 

power  of  Bin,  and  the     of  faith  and  spcculatiou,  there  is  proof  of 

fruitful  source  of  error       .it.i-  /»•  -r,  •      i  •, 

in  relation  to  God,  the  disturbing  power  01  sm.  it  IS  depravity 
which  so  perverts  the  soul  as  to  make  it 
violate  the  laws  of  its  own  constitution  and  the  essential 
conditions  of  knowledge.  In  its  normal  state  it  would  see 
at  once  that  none  of  its  original  beliefs  could  be  questioned, 
and  that  any  speculation  which  leads  to  such  a  result  must 
be  suicidal.  This  vanity  of  mind  is  a  fruitful  source  of  error 
in  relation  to  God.  It  may  not  only  deny  Him  as  Creator, 
but  it  may  deny  the  very  law  upon  which  His  existence,  as 
a  first  cause,  is  demonstrated.  It  may  find  contradictions  in 
the  law,  if  extended  beyond  the  world  of  phenomena,  and 
conclude  that  there  is  no  bridge  between  the  visible  and  the 
invisible.  It  may  find  in  finite  and  contingent  being  the 
grounds  of  its  own  phenomena,  and  thus  preclude  the  neces- 
sity of  going  beyond  the  world  for  the  solution  of  its  mys- 
teries. For  examples  of  this  vanity  we  need  not  go  back  to 
the  ancient  philosophers.  We  have  them  in  our  own  age 
and   at    our   own  doors.     The  very  same 

in  our  own  age  as  well  ,iir>  i,-  ^  •   ^       •  '       i 

as  of  old.  method   oi   speculation    which    m    ancient 

times  made  matter  eternal  and  reduced 
God  to  the  level  of  the  finite  and  conditioned,  has,  in  modern 
times,  denied  with  equal  confidence  the  possibility  of  creation, 
and  reduced  God  to  a  substance  without  attributes  or  a  being 
without  determinations.  He  has  been  degraded  to  a  level 
with  nothing,  or  treated  as  merely  the  infinite  possibility  of 

The  root  of  this  vanity  is  most  certainly  pride.     Man  is 

The  root  of  it  is     unwilliug  to  acknowledge  his  condition  as 

P'''^^-  one  of  only  partial    knowledge.      He   is 

86  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  III. 

hence  reluctant  to  comply  with  the  terms  upon  which  alone 
any  solid  knowledge  is  attainable.  In  the  eifort  to  be  omni- 
scient he  trangresses  the  laws  of  thought,  and  the  consequence 
of  intellectual  transgression  is  no  less  fatal  in  the  sphere  of 
speculation  than  of  moral  transgression  in  the  sphere  of  duty. 
He  is  struck  with  blindness,  his  foolish  heart  is  darkened. 
It  is  this  same  pride  which  kept  the  world  for  so  many 
^„  ,    ,    .,  centuries  ignorant  of  the  true  method  of 

Effects  of  pnue  up-  o 

on  philosophy  in  the  philosophy.  That  mctliod  is  only  a  state- 
''''^* '  ment  of  the  form  and  limits  of  our  know- 

ledge, and  as  long  as  man  was  not  content  to  restrict  him- 
self within  those  limits ;  as  long  as  he  aspired  to  compass 
in  his  thought  the  essential  nature  and  properties  of  being 
and  the  whole  system  of  the  universe,  he  was  left  to  blunder 
as  a  fit  retribution  for  his  presumption.  It  was  not  weak- 
ness, it  was  pride,  that  seduced  him  from  the  way  of  truth. 
Pride,  in  the  sense  of  self-independence  and  self-sufficiency, 
is  the  very  core  of  sin,  and  it  was  but  a  development  of  its 
real  spirit  and  temper  when  man  undertook  to  make  his 
own  understanding  the  absolute  measure  of  truth.  We  are 
apt  to  represent  the  aberrations  of  philosophy  as  springing 
from  infirmity,  from  the  want  of  proper  guides  or  suitable 
helps,  like  the  mistakes  of  a  child  in  its  first  effi)rts  to  walk. 
But  this  is  an  error ;  the  law  of  truth  is  in  man's  reason, 
and  if  he  errs  it  is  because  he  presumptuously  overlooks, 
denies  or  despises  it.  He  has  the  guide,  but  will  not  fol- 
low it.  His  vain  speculations  are  in  defiance  of,  and  not 
in  obedience  to,  the  intellectual  laws  of  his  own  constitution, 
and  his  errors  are  at  once  sins  and  judgments. 

We  have  seen  how  vanity  of  mind  superinduces  a  denial 
of  the  primitive  cognitions  of  reason,  and  plunges  specula- 
tion into  regions  inaccessible  to  our  faculties,  or  sets  man  on 
efforts  to  attain  a  species  of  knowledge  which  is  not  adapted 
to  his  nature.  To  this  may  be  added  the 
^^crotchetsforprinci-  ^^.^^^^^^^^3  ^^  ^cccpt  crotchcts  for  princi- 
ples, and  analogies  for  inductions,  upon 
slight  and  accidental  grounds — grounds  of  superficial  plans- 

Lect.  III.]     man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  87 

ibility  or  apparent  competency  to  explain  a  given  class  of 
phenomena.  These  false  maxims,  once  admitted,  work  mis- 
chief in  the  whole  extent  of  their  application.  If  accepted 
as  universal  truths,  they  must  convert  philosophy  into  a 
vast  collection  of  delusions.  Take,  for  example,  the 
crotchet  that  in  all  knowledge  there  must  be  a  resemblance 
between  the  immediate  object  and  the  mind — that  the  soul 
can  cognize  only  through  something  analogous  to  itself — 
and  you  have  at  once  the  foundation  of  an  absolute  system 
of  idealism.  You  deny  the  possibility  of  an  immediate 
perception  of  matter — an  immediate  knowledge  of  any  things 
but  our  own  thoughts — and  the  step  is  easy  from  the  denial  of 
the  knowledge  of  the  external  world  to  the  denial  of  its  exist- 
ence, and  then  the  progress  is  natural  to  universal  skepticism. 
Another  element  which  must  be  taken  into  the  account 
in  estimatino;  the  tendency  of  sin  to  per- 

Influence  of  sin  upon  ~  j  i. 

speculation    through     vcrt  spcculatiou  is  tlic  irrcgular  influence 

the  imagination.  r>.  -j.-  r\  "D^Tlx  Ij. 

ot  imagination.  Our  iiiugnsh  translators 
seem  to  have  regarded  Paul  as  particularly  signalizing  this 
faculty  as  the  seat  of  vanity ;  "  they  became  vain  in  their  hn- 
ax/inations."  Butler  styles  it  a  "  forward  delusive  faculty." 
Its  true  office  is  to  be  a  handmaid  to  the  understanding, 
vivifying  its  conceptions  and  imparting  a  glow  of  life  and 

beauty  to  the  knowledge  of  nature.     It  is 

The    true    office  of        ,i  -i  •  ,i  i  i   •    i,  i.' 

thisfticuitv  "^^  medium  through  which  our  emotions 

are  excited  in  the  absence  of  their  appro- 
priate objects.  By  imagination  we  mean  not  simply  the 
power  of  vividly  representing  to  the  mind  the  objects  of  its 
past  perceptions  or  of  its  present  thoughts,  but  that  combi- 
nation with  other  faculties  by  virtue  of  which  new  forms 
and  new  objects  are  created.  It  is  by  virtue  of  this  faculty, 
in  this  sense,  that  theories  in  science  are  constructed  from 
remote  analogies — that  accidents  give  intensity  to  the  con- 
ception of  particular  objects,  and  make  them  the  centre  of 
associations  which  exist  only  in  the  heated  mind.  Taken 
in  this  sense,  we  may  say  with  Hunie,^  that  "  nothing  is 
^  Treat.  Human  Nat.  b.  i.,  p.  iv.,  ?  7. 

88  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  III. 

more  dangerous  to  reason  than  the  flights  of  unagination, 

and  nothing  has  been  the  occasion  of  more  mistakes  among 

,  .,      philosophers.      Men  of  bright  fancies  may, 

Delineation    of    its       ••■  •■•  '->  •'  ' 

influence  wiieu  per-  in  this  rcspcct,  bc  Compared  to  those  an- 
gels whom  the  Scriptures  represent  as  cov- 
ering their  eyes  with  their  wings."  The  influence  of  im- 
agination in  perverting  speculation  appears  in  the  tendency 
to  frame  an  hypothesis  from  slight  and  accidental  coinci- 
dences. The  imagination  represents  the  connected  things 
so  vividly  that  we  are  tempted  to  cognize  the  connection  as 
a  necessary  part  of  themselves.  Hence  the  substitution  of 
fancied  for  real  causes;  hence  superstition  substituted  in 
the  place  of  j)hilosophy ;  hence  arise  the  arts  of  magic  and 
the  belief  of  prodigies  and  signs.  We  can  see  how,  through 
the  irregular  influence  of  the  imagination,  objects  that  have 
become  strongly  associated  with  our  joys  and  sorrows  may 
be  invested  with  attributes  that  do  not  belong  to  them ;  as, 
for  example,  the  vegetable,  the  mineral,  the  beast,  that  from 
some  accidental  circumstance  has  been  the  occasion  of  im- 
j^arting  to  us  a  valued  good  or  delivering  us  from  a  dreaded 
evil.  The  object  henceforward  becomes  the  centre  in  our 
minds  of  a  whole  class  of  associations  waked  up  by  the 
vividness  of  our  emotions.  We  insensibly  attribute  to  it 
intelligence  and  design,  and  end  by  making  it  a  god.  The 
imagination  takes  the  place  of  reason,  and  attributes  to  the 
fancied  cause  all  the  properties  and  attributes  of  the  real 
Author  of  our  blessings.  In  the  same  way  natural  objects 
become  centres  of  thoughts  awakened  by  disgust,  and  end 
in  being  made  the  personal  objects  of  hatred  and  contempt. 
The  causes  which  first  set  the  fancy  to  work  in  particular 
directions  it  is  impossible  to  specify.  Here  Satan  has  a 
commanding  field  of  operation.  But  the  fancy  once  set  to 
work  we  can  readily  perceive  how  the  facts 

Key  to  polytheism.  .  i    ,  i  i  c        l^ 

of  experience  and  the  phenomena  ot  nature 
can  be  completely  transformed.  We  have  the  key  to  the 
polytheism  which  has  prevailed  in  all  heatlien  lands.  We 
know  the  forge  in  which  its  innumerable  gods  have  been 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  89 

made.  We  know  the  author  of  their  various  attributes  and 
works.  Now,  here  is  a  pregnant  proof  of  the  disturbing 
power  of  sin.  A  faculty  which  God  intended  to  be  a  hand- 
maid and  minister  is  made  the  guide  of  our  nature.  Rea- 
son takes  the  place  of  a  subordinate,  and  man  creates  by  the 
same  process  both  worlds  and  gods  for  himself.  Here,  too, 
we  see  the  same  principle  of  pride — the  exaltation  of  his 
own  being.  He  makes  and  unmakes ;  he  becomes  creator 
and  Lord ;  he  becomes  the  supreme  God  of  all. 

Combine  now  these  two  causes,  a  perverted  reason  and  a 
perverted  imagination ;  replace  the  laws  of  belief  by  ground- 
less crotchets,  and  picture  the  world  in  the  colours  of  fancy ; 
let  false  principles  and  a  lively  imagination  unite  their  re- 
sources, and  let  the  end  be  consistency  of  thought  in  a 
scheme  of  the  universe ;  and  we  have  a  key  to  human  delu- 
sions in  the  sphere  of  speculation.  We  can  see  the  door 
through  which  sin  introduces  the  prolific  progeny  of  error, 
superstition,  witchcraft,  sorcery,  idolatry  and  even  athe- 
ism itself. 

(2.)  But  we  proceed  to  signalize  another  form  in  which 
sin  still  more  fearfully  perverts  the  nature 

The  perverting  in-  *'     ■■■ 

fluciice  of  sin  in  the     aud  character  of  God.     It  is  through  the 

sphere  of  morals,  •     n  c  m  •  itt         i 

iniiuence  ol  an  evil  conscience.  We  do 
not  propose  to  consider  the  manner  in  which  depravity  dis- 
torts our  moral  judgments  themselves,  often  leading  us  in 
speculation  to  question  the  first  principles  of  right  or  to 
resolve  them  into  modifications  of  pleasure  and  pain.  We 
do  not  allude  to  its  power  in  misleading  its  victims  in  the 
estimate  of  their  own  character,  or  in  blinding  the  mind  to 
the  atrocity  of  particular  instances  of  wickedness.  The 
.  „    .      ,  ,.        point  we  have  in  view  is  to  illustrate  the 

especially  in  relation       i 

to  the  character  of  tcudcncy  of  a  pervcrtcd  conscience  to  mis- 
represent the  nature  and  character  of  God. 
McCosh^  has  strikingly  illustrated  what  he  calls  "  an  attract- 
ing and  repelling  principle"  in  the  religious  life  of  our  fallen 
race.  "  First,  there  is  a  feeling  in  man,"  says  he,  "  prompt- 
'  Divine  Government,  p.  44. 

90  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  ni. 

ing  him  to  seek  God,  if  haply  he  may  find  him.  Transient 
feelings  of  gratitude,  the  fear  of  danger,  the  keen  sense  of 
sin,  the  fear  of  punishment,  all  these  would  draw  or  drive 
him  into  the  presence  of  God."  After  enumerating  the  cir- 
cumstances under  which  this  feeling  conspicuously  operates, 
he  proceeds  to  mention  that  "  there  is  also  a  repelling  prin- 
ciple, and  it  is  the  latter  which  is  so  very  mysterious.  It  is 
a  fact — and  the  explanation  is  to  be  found  in  an  evil  con- 
science— that  there  is  something  in  human  nature  which 
would  drive  man  away  from  his  ISIaker.  When  his  better 
feelings  would  prompt  him  to  fall  down  before  God,  a  hand 
from  behind  is  felt  to  be  holding  him  back,  and  he  hesitates 
and  procrastinates  till  the  time  for  action  is  over."  To  the 
action  and  reaction  of  these  opposite  principles  he  traces  the 

"  strange  contradictions  of  the  human  soul " 
thotrir   '"^     in  relation  to_  religion.     "It  is  drawn  to 

God,  and  yet  it  is  repelled  from  God  when 
it  comes  near  him,  as  the  electrified  ball  is  repelled  as  soon 
as  it  comes  in  contact  with  the  object  which  attracted  it. 
Man  is  constrained  to  acknowledge  God,  and  constrained  to 
tremble  before  the  God  whom  he  acknowledges.  He  would 
escape  from  God  only  to  feel  that  he  is  chained  to  him  by 
bonds  which  he  cannot  break.  He  would  flee  fi"om  God, 
but  feels  himself  helpless  as  the  charmed  bird  with  the  eye 
of  the  serpent  fixed  upon  it.  He  would  go  forth  like  Cain 
from  the  presence  of  the  Lord,  but  he  has  God's  mark  upon 
him,  and  is  still  under  his  eye  in  all  his  wanderings.  He 
would  flee  from  the  presence  of  God,  like  the  rebellious 
projihet,  into  a  region  of  thought  and  feeling  where  the  re- 
membrance of  God  can  never  trouble  him,  but  it  is  only  to 
find  himself  brought  back  by  restraints  laid  upon  him.  In 
his  conduct  toward  his  God  there  is  prostration  and  yet 
rebellion  ;  there  is  assurance  and  yet  there  is  terror.  When 
he  refuses  to  worship  God,  it  is  from  mingled  pride  and 
alarm ;  when  he  worships  God,  it  is  from  the  same  feelings ; 
and  the  worship  which  he  spontaneously  pays  is  a  strange 
mixture  of  presumption  and  slavish  fear.    Hence,  the  vibrat- 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  91 

ing  movements  of  the  world's  religious  history.  Under 
this  double  influence,  attractive  and  repulsive,  man's  eccen- 
tric orbit  is  not  so  much  like  that  of  the  planets,  with  their 
equable  motion  and  temperature,  as  like  that  of  the  comets, 
now  approaching,  as  it  were,  within  the  scorching  beams  of 
the  central  heat  and  light,  and  again  driven  away  into  the 
utmost  and  coldest  regions  of  space,  and  seeming  as  if  they 
were  let  loose  from  all  central  and  restraining  influence." 

To  appreciate  the  result  produced  by  the  joint  operation 
of  these  two  principles,  so  happily  signalized  by  McCosh,  it 
must  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  attraction  is  without  love, 
and  the  repulsion  without  reverence.  The  sympathies  which 
draw  men  to  God  do  not  spring  from  any  sense  of  the  Divine 
excellence  or  any  apprehension  of  the  Divine  glory.  There 
is  nothing  approximating  to  a  spirit  of  fellowship.  Their 
needs  and  their  burdens,  their  weaknesses  and  dangers,  or 
the  transient  play  of  emotions  upon  sudden  occasions  of 
benefits  received  or  ills  averted, — these  are  the  cords  which 
attract  us  to  our  Maker.  In  the  effort  to  escape  from  God 
guilt  is  the  predominant  controlling  motive.  \Ye  fear  and 
tremble,  but  we  are  not  awed  into  any  just 

Fearing,  yet  hating,  .  . 

reverence  lor  His  majesty,  or  any  just  con- 
ception of  the  sanctity  of  His  justice.  We  hate  while  we 

When  now  we  call  to  mind  that  a  man  seeks  harmony  in 
his  conscience  as  well  as  in  his  speculations — that  he  is  as 
anxious  to  be  at  peace  with  himself  in  the  reflections  which 
he  makes  upon  his  own  life  and  character  as  to  be  sensible 
of  mutual  consistency  and  coherence  in  his  philosophical  in- 
quiries— we  can  easily  perceive  that  an  evil  conscience  must 
evil  conscience  ^^  ^  perpetual  sourcc  of  false  representations 
must  misrepresent  of  God.  Whcn  guilt  raulvlcs  iu  tlic  brcast, 
the  man  blasphemes  the  justice  of  his  Judge. 
His  self-love  will  prompt  hira  to  stigmatize  the  punishment 
of  himself  as  remorseless  cruelty ;  and  taking  the  hue  of  liis 
own  feelings,  he  will  clothe  God  in  colours  of  blood.  He 
will  become  a  monster  who  must  be  avoided  or  appeased. 

92  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  Ill, 

Hence  those  savage  religions  which  startle  as  much  by  the 
ferocity  of  their  rites  as  by  the  enormous  blasphemy  of  their 
doctrines.  Or,  when  the  rites  of  propitiation  are  less  revolt- 
ing, they  still  lead  to  a  degradation  of  God  by  figuring  Him 
as  a  being  who  can  be  bribed,  wheedled  or  cajoled.  A 
guilty  conscience,  unwilling  to  relinquish  its  iniquities  and 
yet  anxious  to  be  delivered  from  apprehensions  of  punish- 
ment, prompts  a  man  to  represent  the  Deity  as  subject  to 
the  weaknesses  and  follies  of  humanity.  The  whole  system 
of  worship  is  projected  upon  the  principle  of  ministering  to 
the  vanity  of  the  Almighty.  As  His  justice  is  regarded  as 
personal  revenge,  the  satisfoction  of  that  justice  consists  in 
soothing  His  wounded  pride.  God  is  to  be  flattered  and 
caressed  with  external  marks  of  submission  and  esteem  ;  He 
is  to  be  flattered  or  insulted  accordingly  as  He  conducts  Him- 
self well  or  ill  to  the  worshipper.  The  real  spirit  of  idola- 
trous worship,  as  a  spirit  of  bribery,  flattery  and  deceit,  is 
seen  in  the  manner  in  which  the  heathen  were  accustomed 
to  treat  their  gods  when  they  refused  to  succour  them  in 
times  of  distress.  Thucydides  tells  us  that  during  the 
prevalence  of  the  plague  in  Athens  the  temples  and  images 
and  altars  were  entirely  deserted  and  religion  treated  with 
contempt,  because  their  prayers  had  not  been  successful  in 
staying  the  progress  of  the  pestilence.  "  The  ancient  Egyp- 
tians," says  McCosh,  "  in  times  of  severe  national  distress, 
took  their  sacred  animals  to  a  secret  place  and  put  them  to 
death,  and  threatened  their  gods  that  if  the  calamity  did 
not  pass  away  they  would  disclose  the  mysteries  of  Isis  or 
expose  the  members  of  Osiris  to  Typhon.  Augustus  re- 
venged himself  for  the  loss  of  his  fleet  by  storms  on  two 
several  occasions,  by  forbidding  the  statue  of  Neptune  to  be 
carried  in  the  procession  of  the  gods."  Conscience  fills  the 
mind  with  prejudices  against  the  nature  and  character  of 
God,  as  a  personal  insult  to  ourselves  fills  our  hearts  with 
prejudices  against  the  man,  however  excellent  in  himself, 
who  has  mortified  our  self-respect.  We  cannot  judge  rightly 
of  one  whom  we  hate  and  one  whom  we  fear.     In  this  way 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  93 

the  guilty  are  betrayed  into  the  most  insulting  reproaches 
of  their  Maker,  The  being  whom  their  fears  picture  is  a 
strange  and  hideous  combination  of  malice,  of  weakness  and 
of  vanity.  No  wonder  that  under  the  united  influence  of 
guilt,  self-love  and  the  power  of  sin,  under  the  united  in- 
fluence of  an  evil  conscience  and  of  evil  passions,  men  have 
made  to  themselves  a  God  whom  it  is  a  shame  to  worship. 
When  to  these  causes  we  add  the  force  of  imagination,  when 
we  give  it  impetus  and  energy  by  the  very  intensity  of  the 
feelings,  we  have  the  key  to  the  monsters  which,  under  the 
name  of  deities,  have  accelerated  that  degradation  of  the 
species  in  which  they  took  their  origin.  Here  we  have  the 
The  true  solution  of  truc  solutiou  of  supcrstitiou  and  will-wor- 
Bupeistition  and  will-  ship,  whether  they  appear  in  forms  of 
cruelty  and  blood,  or  in  the  softer  shapes 
of  flattery  and  pretended  praise.  These  same  causes  also 
lead  to  a  bold  denial  of  providence.  The  repulsive  principle 
drives  off  all  thoughts  of  God  and  the  Divine  government ; 
and  it  is  even  made  a  proof  of  His  dignity  and  blessedness 
that  He  takes  no  interest  in  the  affairs  of  men.  If  He  exist 
at  all.  He  exists  in  solitary  selfishness,  and  never  permits 
His  eternal  slumbers  to  be  broken  by  such  petty  concerns  as 
the  acts  or  fortunes  of  His  creatures.  He  is  despoiled  of 
His  providence  in  compliment  to  His  majesty.  The  Epi- 
curean, in  his  refusal  to  worship,  illustrates,  only  in  a  differ- 
ent way,  the  same  low  thought  of  God  as  a  victim  of  vanity, 
which  the  devotee  of  superstition  carries  out  in  his  deceitful 
homage.  Thus  it  comes  to  pass  that  none  know  God.  The 
Ajjostle  touches  the  core  of  the  difficulty  when  he  traces  it 
to  their  invincible  repugnance  to  give  Him  the  glory  which 
is  His  due.  They  refuse  Him  the  love  to  which  His  infinite 
holiness  is  entitled.  His  light  departs  from  the  soul;  it 
henceforward  gropes  in  darkness ;  stumbles  at  the  first  prin- 
ciples of  truth ;  enthrones  imagination  as  the  regulative 
measure  of  thought ;  and  when  roused  by  a  guilty  conscience 
and  evil  passions  gives  us  a  being  whom  it  would  be  our 
honour  to  despise.     The  heart  begins  in  malice,  and  ends 

94  man's   natural   ignorance   of   god.      [Lect.  III. 

by  the   creation   of  a   Deity  who  is  a  fit  subject  for  that 

(3.)  We  have  now  seen  how  conscience,  in  the  bosom  of  a 
sinner,  becomes  a  fruitful  source  of  ignorance  and  mistake  in 
relation  to  God.  We  have  seen  how  it  crouches  and  flatters — 
how  it  seeks  to  purchase  peace  by  rites  and  sacrifices  that 
involve  any  suffering  but  that  of  the  crucifixion  of  sin.  But 
there  is  a  principle  which  prompts  man  to  worship  some- 
thing as  an  object  in  which  it  can  find  complacency.  It  is 
not  content  with  distant  homage ;  it  wants  something  in 
which  it  can  feel  that  there  is  a  mutual  sympathy  with 
itself — something  which  shall  take  the  place  of  that  commu- 
nion with  God  which  constitutes  the  essence  of  true  religion. 
The  perverting  in-  ^his  principle  of  worship  or  of  fellowship 
fluence  of  sin  in  the     -with  God,  uudcr  tlic  pcrvcrtlng  influcncc 

sphere  of  worship.  r»      •        i  i  i  •    •  i  /»   • 

oi  sm,  becomes  an  additional  source  of  ig- 
norance and  error.  The  God  whom  it  seeks  cannot  be  found. 
The  living  God  has  retired ;  He  has  left  the  soul  to  dark- 
ness and  solitude.  Hence  a  substitute  must  be  found,  and 
the  result  is  the  invention  of  images  as  symbols  of  a  presence 
whij3h  is  no  longer  real.  We  imitate  communion  by  the 
embrace  of  the  idol.  We  transfer  to  it  the  sentiments  of 
reverence  which  we  profess  for  God,  and  by  a  natural  de- 
lusion we  impart  to  it  a  fictitious  consciousness  of  our  rev- 
erence and  respect.  This  want  of  a  present  God,  and  this 
determination  to  make  Him  present,  have  no  doubt  exerted 
a  wide  influence  in  the  inventions  of  idolatry.  The  reaction 
of  the  image  upon  the  mind  of  the  worshipper,  in  depressing 
his  religious  knowledge,  is  too  obvious  to  require  illustration. 
This  seems  to  have  been  also  the  opinion  of  Calvin^  as  to 
the  origin  of  idolatry :  "  That  idolatry  has  its  origin  in  the 
idea  which  men  have  that  God  is  not  present  with  them 
unless  His  presence  is  carnally  exhibited,  appears  from  the 
example  of  the  Israelites.  Up,  said  they,  make  us  gods 
which  shall  go  before  us ;  for  as  for  this  Moses,  the  man 
that  brought  us  up  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  we  wot  not 
^  Instit.  Lib.  I.,  c.  xi.,  §  8.  , 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  95 

what  is  become  of  him.  (Ex.  xxxii.  1.)  They  knew, 
indeed,  that  there  was  a  God,  whose  power  they  had  ex- 
perienced in  so  many  miracles,  but  they  had  no  confidence 
of  His  being  near  to  them,  if  they  did  not  Avith  tlieir  eyes 
behold  a  corporeal  symbol  of  His  presence  as  an  attestation 
to  His  actual  government.  They  desired,  therefore,  to  be 
assured  by  the  image  which  went  before  them  that  they 
were  journeying  under  Divine  guidance.  And  daily  expe- 
rience shows  that  the  flesh  is  always  restless,  until  it  has 
obtained  some  figment  like  itself  with  which  it  may  vainly 
solace  itself  as  a  representation  of  God.  In  consequence  of 
this  blind  passion,  men  have,  almost  in  all  ages  since  the 
world  began,  set  up  signs  on  which  they  imagined  that  God 
was  visibly  depicted  to  their  eyes."  According  to  this  view 
idolatry  is  a  confession  that  God  has  departed.  It  is  the 
effort  of  human  presumption  to  countervail  the  consequences 
of  His  absence,  or  rather  the  invention  of  human  pride  to 
do  without  Him.  It  is  literally  bringing  Him  down  to  us. 
The  account  which  has  now  been  given  of  the  causes  of 
man's  ignorance  and  errors  in  relation  to 

These    views    con-       r^     i  .  ,       i  •      i       ,i 

firmed  by  Paul,  ^OQ  sccms  to  me  to  DC  preciscly  the  same 

as  that  which  Paul  has  given  in  the  pas- 
sage from  his  Epistle  to  the  Romans,  already  cited.  The 
root  of  the  evil  was  the  depravity  of  their  hearts,  manifested 
in  their  refusal  to  glorify  God  as  God.  They  had  no  real 
love  to  His  name,  they  saw  no  beauty  in  His  holiness,  and 
felt  no  sympathy  with  His  glory.  They  were  destitute  of 
true  religion.  Instead  of  contemplating  the  Divine  Being 
%vith  reverence,  gratitude  and  delight,  they  became  vain  in 
their  reasonings — in  their  speculations  upon  his  nature,  his 
attributes  and  his  relations  to  the  creatures.  Sin  appears  in 
the  understanding  as  a  principle  of  vanity,  and,  in  leading 
men  to  deny  the  first  principles  of  intelligence,  makes  their 
minds  cease  to  be  intelligent.  Their  unintelligent  heart  was 
darkened.  Intelligence  in  its  fundamental  laws  being  sub- 
verted, men  become  a  prey  to  their  passions,  their  fancies, 
their  prejudices  and  their  fears,  and  pass  through  all  the 

96  man's  natueal  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  III. 

stages  of  religious  degradation  until  they  make  themselves 
as  vile  as  the  gods  they  have  invented. 

Substantially  the  same  is  the  teaching  of  Solomon,  that 
God  hath  made  men  upright,  but  they  have 

and  by  Solomon.  .  . 

sought  out  many  inventions.  ihe  word 
translated  inventions  has  special  reference  to  the  subtleties 
of  vain  speculation.  It  is  applied  (2  Chron.  xxvi.  15)  to 
"  the  engines  invented  by  cunning  men"  introduced  by 
Uzziah  into  Jerusalem,  "to  be  on  the  towers  and  on  the 
bulwarks  to  shoot  arrows  and  great  stones  withal."  It  ex- 
actly expresses,  as  Hengstenberg  suggests,  "  those  so  often 
plausible  and  brilliant  reasonings  of  the  natural  under- 
standing which  perplex  the  heart  and  lead  away  from  the 
wisdom  that  is  from  above ;  those  speculations  of  a  heart 
turned  away  from  God,  which  are  perpetually  penetrating 
into  the  Church  from  the  world;  those  profane  and  vain 
babblings  and  oppositions  of  science,  falsely  so  called, 
against  which  the  apostle  utters  his  warning  in  1  Tim. 
vi'.  20."  Hengstenberg  very  justly  adds  :  "  Since  the  fall, 
man  has  forgotten  that  he  should,  in  the  first  instance,  take 
up  a  receptive  position  in  relation  to  the  wisdom  that  is 
from  above,  and  that  such  a  position  is  the  only  right  one ; 
but  instead  of  that  he  goes  hunting  after  his  own  phantastic 
and  high-flown  thoughts.  The  only  way  of  throwing  off 
this  severe  disease,  and  of  escaping  from  the  bonds  of  one's 
own  thoughts  and  imaginations,  is  to  unlearn  the  serpent's 
lesson,  '  Ye  shall  be  as  gods,  knowing  good  and  evil ;'  to  re- 
turn to  our  dependence  on  God ;  to  renounce  all  self-acquired 
knowledge ;  and  leaving  all  our  own  fancies  and  conclusions 
to  sink  in  Lethe's  stream,  to  accept  the  Divine  teachings 
alone,  according  to  our  Lord's  saying  in  Matt.  xi.  25 :  '  I 
thank  thee,  O  Father,  that  Thou  hast  hid  these  things  from 
the  wise  and  prudent,  and  hast  revealed  them  unto  babes.' "  ^ 
If  we  have  succeeded  in  exhibiting  the  real  causes  of  re- 
ligious error  and  perverseness — if  we  have  shown  that  there 
is  a  disturbing  power  in  sin  which  hinders  and  counteracts  the 
'  Comment  on  Eccles.  vii.  29. 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  97 

normal  development  of  reason,  the  religious  condition  of  the 
world,  however  low  and  revolting,  has  no  tendency  to  diminish 
the  arguments  which  the  light  of  nature  affords  to  the  being 
and  attributes  of  God.  That  which  may  be  known  of  God 
is  clearly  manifested,  though  men  may  put  a  veil  upon  their 
eyes  and  refuse  to  see  it.  They  may  shroud  themselves  in 
the  darkness  of  their  corruptions,  but  the  light  shines  around 
them  notwithstanding  their  blindness.  To  prove  that 
human  ignorance  upon  this  subject  is  universal  is  only  to 
prove  that  corruption  is  universal.  The  effects  must  be 
coextensive  with  the  operation  of  the  cause.  In  the  sense 
of  nature  as  created,  all  may  and  ought  to  know  God ;  in 
the  sense  of  nature  as  corrupted,  practical  atheism  is  our 
sad  inheritance. 

II.  But  if  man  in  his  fallen  and  degenerate  condition 
could  yet  compass  a  just  speculative  know- 

The  profounder  igno-       it  r  r^     t  ii"  j.j-1 

ranee  of  man's  heart.        l^dgC  of  God  aud    hlS  government,  there  IS 

a  profounder  ignoraiice  which  would  still 
settle  upon  his  heart.  This  speculative  knowledge  is  largely 
attained  in  countries  which  are  distinguished  by  the  light 
of  the  Christian  revelation.  The  humblest  peasants  are 
familiar  with  truths  of  which  Plato  and  Aristotle  had  no 
glimpse.  They  are  sound  upon  questions  which  distract, 
perplex,  torment,  confound  the  understandings  of  presump- 
tuous sophists.  They  know  that  God  is  an  eternal,  inde- 
pendent, personal  Spirit ;  that  He  made  the  heavens  and  the 
earth ;  that  He  governs  all  creatures  and  all  their  actions ; 
and  that  He  is  infinitely  good  as  He  is  infinitely  great.  But, 
with  all  this  knowledge,  they  yet  fail  to  glorify  Him  as  God. 
They  want  that  loving  light  which  warms  as  well  as  con- 
vinces. They  want  the  beams  of  that  beauty  and  glory 
which  shall  make  them  love  and  adore.      They  have  no 

communion  with  Him.     Sin,  as  the  nega- 

Sin  Winds  us  to  the       ,•  /»    .i       i-n       /•  /^     i    •       . i  i       p 

glory  there  is  in  God.        ^^^^  ^^  ^'^^  l^^G  of    God  lU  thc  SOul  of  man, 

is  a  principle  of  blindness  to  all  that  in 
God  which  makes   Him   an  object  of  delighted  worship. 
Corrupted  nature  can  never  give  birth  to  a  single  affection 
Vol.  I.— 7 

98  man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  III. 

which  is  truly  religious.  Depravity  seals  the  man  against 
all  the  energies  which  are  involved  in  genuine  holiness.  In 
order  to  this  spiritual,  vivifying  Divine  knowledge,  there 
must  be  an  influence  from  above,  opening  our  blind  eyes 
and  touching  our  wayward  hearts  ;  and  in  order  to  this  in- 
fluence there  must  be  redemption,  atonement,  reconciliation 
with  God.  The  cross  is  the  only  place  where  men  can 
truly  find  God,  and  the  incarnate  Redeemer  the  only  being 
in  whom  a  sinner  can  adequately  know  Him.  Apart  from 
the  mediation  of  Christ  there  is  and  can  be  no  real  godli- 
ness in  any  portion  of  our  fallen  race.  All  had  gone  astray, 
and  all  were  perishing  upon  the  dark  mountains  of  error. 
Still,  though  the  speculative  knowledge  of  God  can  pro- 
indirect  benefit,  ^lucc  uo  truc  rcligiou,  it  docs  always  pro- 
froni  the  mere  specula-     ducc  an  amendment  of  public  manners.     It 

tive  knowledge  of  God.  .  .   .  •   i     • 

drives  away  superstition  with  its  cruel  and 
its  deceitful  rites ;  it  elevates  the  standard  of  general  moral- 
ity ;  and,  if  it  does  not  make  man  intrinsically  better,  it 
makes  him  externally  more  decent.  The  morality  of  Chris- 
tian nations  is  far  in  advance  of  that  of  heathenism  in  its 
palmiest  days.  Crimes  to  which  Athens  and  Rome  attached 
no  stigma — the  unnatural  lusts  which  were  there  indulged 
without  shame — dare  not  confront  the  public  opinion  of  any 
Christian  state.  Speculative  knowledge  gives  a  right  di- 
rection to  the  conscience ;  restraining  influences  are  multi- 
plied, even  where  sanctifying  grace  is  not  felt.  Read  Paul's 
appalling  description  of  the  civilized  heathen  society  of  his 
day,  and  you  will  be  sensible,  at  once,  of  the  prodigious 
change  which  Christianity,  as  an  external  institute,  has 
wrought  in  the  manners  of  the  people  among  whom  it  is  re- 
ceived. The  crimes  which  he  mentions  would  be  driven  in 
Britain  and  America  to  cover  themselves  with  the  darkness 
of  night  and  hide  their  heads  in  holes  and  corners.  It  is 
not  that  men  are  intrinsically  better;  they  are  only  less 
wicked.  It  is  not  that  their  hearts  are  changed,  but  Chris- 
tianity has  hemmed  them  in  with  restraints.  They  love 
God  no  more  now  than  in  the  days  of  Nero ;  but  their  depravity 


Lect.  Ill],    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.  99 

has  been  tiirnecl  into  other  channels,  and  moral  forces  are 

combined  to  repress  their  lusts,  of  which  the  heathen  never 

had  a  notion.     The  Gospel,  therefore,  is  an  immense  bless- 

„,     „      ,       „      ins;,  even  where  it  does  not  communicate 

The    Gospel    exalts  o' 

where  it  may  not  re-     salvatiou.     It  cxalts  man  where  it  does  not 
redeem  him.     It  sets  moral  powers  to  work 

which  are  mighty  in  their  effects,  even  though  they  fail  to 

reach  the  seat  of  the  disease. 

III.  A  question  now  remains  which  in  a  mawkish  and 
skeptical  age  deserves  to  be  thoroughly  un- 

Heathenism :  a  mis-        i        x       j       j.i  x*  •         j.i  1 

fortune  or  a  crime  ?  dcrstood— the  qucstioii  conceming  the  moral 
estimate  which  should  be  put  upon  the 
errors  and  superstitions  of  those  who  are  destitute  of  the 
light  of  revelation.  There  are  many  who  represent  hea- 
thenism as  a  misfortune  and  not  a  crime,  and  exhibit  its 
victims  as  objects  of  pity  and  not  of  indignation.  Men  have 
gone  so  far  as  to  maintain  that  the  primitive  condition  of 
man  was  one  of  rudeness  and  ignorance,  and  that  the  various 
superstitions  of  the  world  have  been  successive  steps  in  the 
progressive  education  of  the  race.  The  abominations  of 
idolatry  are  the  innocent  mistakes  of  childhood.  It  has  been 
further  alleged  that  they  are  sincere  in  their  worship,  and 
as  they  honestly  aim  to  pay  homage  to  His  name,  God  will 
graciously  accept  the  will  for  the  deed.  These  and  all 
similar  apologies  are  guilty  of  a  fundamental  error.  They 
mistake  the  real  secret  of  man's  ignorance  of  God.  So  far 
are  the  heathen  from  feeling  after  Him  w^th  any  real  desire 
to  find  Him  in  His  true  character,  that  the  grand  purpose 
of  their  inventions  is  to  insult  and  degrade  Him,  and  to 
reign  supreme  in  His  place.  Looked  at  in  its  true  light, 
heathenism  is  a  crime,  or  rather  a  combination  of  crimes,  so 
enormous  and  aggravated  that  the  marvel  is  how  a  God  of 
infinite  justice  and  purity  could  endure  it  for  a  single  day. 
Its  mother  is  sin  and  its  daughter  is  death.  In  judging  of 
it,  men  imperceptibly  lose  sight  of  the  fact  that  the  heathen 
are  men  like  themselves,  rational,  moral,  religious ;  that  they 
have  a  nature  in  all  respects  like  ours — the  same  primitive 

100         man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.     [Lect.  Ill, 

cognitions,  the  same  laws  of  belief,  the  same  conscience  in 
its  fundamental  commands,  and  the  same  instinct  for  personal 
communion  and  worship.  Their  constitution,  as  spiritual, 
responsible  beings,  in  no  respect  differs  from  our  own. 
Taking  this  thought  along  with  us,  we  must  of  course  judge 
of  their  principles,  their  character  and  conduct  as  the  prin- 
ciples, character  and  conduct  of  rational  beings.  To  the  bar 
of  reason  they  are  certainly  responsible.  Now  our  whole 
argument  has  shown  that  these  reasonable  beings,  in  close 
conspiracy  with  the  devil,  have  systematic- 

A  systematic  perver-  ii  ,t  -i  j.Ij.1" 

sion  of  reason.  ally  corruptcd  and  perverted  their  reason. 

They  have  suppressed  its  utterances  when- 
ever it  speaks  to  them  of  God.  They  have  listened  to  it  in 
the  affairs  of  life,  but  when  it  points  to  the  Invisible  and 
Supreme,  they  have  boldly  said  to  it  that  it  lied,  and  that 
they  would  follow  another  light.  Is  there  nothing  monstrous 
in  this  ?  Heathenism  is  really  an  attempt  to  put  out  the 
eye  of  the  soul — nay  more,  to  extinguish  the  very  being  of 
the  soul ;  for  its  essence  is  intelligence,  and  intelligence  is 
sujjpressed  in  these  very  contradictions  to  first  truths  implied 
in  heathenism.  Then,  again,  rational  beings  are  bound  to 
regulate  their  faith  by  the  laws  of  evidence.  They  are  not 
to  believe  without  just  proof.  They  must  give  a  reason  for 
the  faith  that  is  in  them.  Bring  heathenism  to  this  test,  and 
what  are  its  proofs  of  its  countless  rabble  of  gods  ?  What 
evidence  can  it  adduce  for  the  Divine  appointment  of  its 
monstrous  systems  of  worship  ?  If  the  question  were  asked, 
Who  hath  required  this  at  your  hands  ?  what  rational 
answer  could  these  reasonable  beings  give  ?  These  systems 
are  so  manifestly  the  products  of  their  imagination,  the 
spawn  of  a  whorish  fancy  by  a  corrupt  heart,  that  they 
would,  perhaps,  be  amazed  that  any  evidence  were  exacted. 
Then  what  shall  we  say  to  the  crimes  which 
The  crimes  which  it     ^j^^j^.  religiou  has  sauctificd  ?     Those  brutal 

sauctines.  o 

lusts ;  those  bacchanalian  revels  ;  the  open 
contempt  of  all  the  ties  which  bind  man  to  his  fellows ; 
homicide,  fratricide,  parricide ;  what  shall  we  say  of  these. 

Lect.  in.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.        101 

and  of  the  men  who  have  made  it  a  merit,  an  act  of  devotion 
to  God,  to  be  stained  with  these  enormities  ?  Their  con- 
sciences judge  right  in  the  ordinary  relations  of  life ;  they 
know  the  obligations  of  truth,  justice  and  benevolence. 
How  can  they  be  justified  in  extinguishing  this  conscience, 
this  voice  of  God  within  them,  when  they  touch  the  subject 
of  religion  ?  If  they  are  responsible  at  all,  surely  they  are 
responsible  for  crimes  like  these.  Nothing  can  excuse  them 
which  does  not  remove  them  from  the  rank  of  moral  beings. 

Add  to  this  that  in  the  matter  of  worship  they  oifer 
flattery  for  praise,  bribes  for  penitence,  and  wages  for  sin. 
They  have  no  love  to  God,  no  spiritual  communion  with 
their  Maker,  though  their  nature  tells  them  this  is  the  very 
life  and  soul  of  worship.  Instead  of  this  holy  and  spirit- 
ual exercise  they  substitute  the  presence  of  stocks  and  stones, 
of  birds  and  four-footed  beasts  and  creeping  things,  and 
would  j)alm  oif  this  mummery  to  an  image  as  an  adequate 
compensation  for  the  absence  of  holy  love. 

If  anything  can  be  said  with  truth,  it  is  that  heathenism 
is  unnatural  and  monstrous.  And  how  can  it  be  main- 
tained that  a  man  is  innocent  when  he  has  done  violence  to 
all  that  is  great  and  noble  about  him  ?  What  is  heathen- 
ism in  its  last  analysis  but  a  determined  effort  in  the  alli- 
ance and  interests  of  hell  to  extinguish  reason  rather  than 
admit  the  true  God?  As  to  the  notion  that  idolaters  are 
sincere  in  their  worshij^,  if  it  means  that 

The  plea  of  their  lie-        ,i  it  j.1      •      i  •  j.1      j.   •      xl 

ing"  sincere."  ^^^^J  oelicve  thcu^  lics,  that  IS  the  very  core 

of  the  charge  against  them.  How  can 
they  as  reasonable  beings  believe  without  guilt  a  mass  of 
stupendous  falsehoods  which  outrage  common  sense  ?  Their 
reason  never  brought  them  to  this  pass ;  it  was  something 
which  silenced  reason.  If  by  "  sincerity"  is  meant  that 
they  design  the  honour  of  God,  then  the  core  of  their  guilt 
again  is  that  they  have  such  thoughts  of  God  as  to  suppose 
that  He  can  be  pleased  with  what  would  degrade  a  man. 
He  who  thinks  to  honour  me  by  slander  and  insult,  by 
making  me  approve  and  reward  the  most  abominable  crimes, 

]  02  man's   natural   ignorance   of   god.      [Lect.  III. 

has  certainly  strange  notions  of  honour ;  and  the  more  sin- 
cerely they  honour  God  after  this  fashion  the  more  they 
deserve  to  be  damned  for  hushing  that  monitor  of  God 
which  speaks  spontaneously  in  their  consciences. 

It  is  a  shame  to  apologize  for  idolaters.  We  may  pity 
them,  but  we  must  condemn  them.  They  are  without  ex- 
cuse.    Their  ignorance  is  wilful  and  obstinate. 

The  true  view  of  heathenism  is,  that  it  is  the  consumma- 
„  ,,    .      .    ^^      tion  of  human  depravity.     It  is  the  full 

Heathenism   is    the  i  -^ 

consummation  of  de-  development  of  the  principle  of  sin  in  its 
'"'*"  ■^'  workings  upon  the  intellectual,  the  moral, 

the  religious  nature  of  man.  It  is  a  development  directly 
counter  to  that  which  is  normal  and  right.  It  is  the  last 
stage  which  the  mind  reaches  in  its  retrograde  movement. 
It  is  as  complete  an  unmaking  of  the  work  of  God  in  man 
as  it  is  possible  to  conceive.  The  only  sense  in  which  it  is 
a  preparation  for  the  gospel  is  that  it  shows  the  hopelessness 
of  man  Avithout  it.  God  has  permitted  it  to  take  place  on 
a  large  scale  that  He  might  demonstrate  the  real  tendencies 
of  sin.  If  the  fact  were  not  before  our  eyes,  we  might  be 
tempted  to  doubt  whether  reasonable  beings  could  sink  so 
low.  If  we  knew  nothing  of  history,  and  for  the  first  time 
were  made  acquainted  with  the  various  schemes  of  idolatry 
and  superstition,  we  should  hesitate  in  attributing  to  those 
who  invented  and  those  who  received  such  systems  the  epi- 
thet of  rational.  They  could  not,  we  should  be  apt  to  feel, 
be  men  like  ourselves.  But  there  stands  the  fact,  and  there 
it  stands  as  an  unanswerable  proof,  that  sin  is  the  murderer 
of  the  soul.  It  extinguishes  the  life  of  intelligence,  the 
life  of  conscience  and  the  life  of  religion.  It  turns  man 
into  a  monster  and  clothes  his  Maker  in  garments  of  slianie, 
and  when  it  has  done  its  Avork  of  death  it  complacently 
wipes  its  mouth  and  says,  "  I  have  done  no  evil."  Surely 
the  Avicked  shall  be  turned  into  hell,  with  all  the  nations 
that  forget  God. 

As  to  the  first  authors  of  idolatry,  it  deserves  further  to 
be  mentioned    that   they  not  only  sinned  against  the  light 

Lect.  III.]    man's  natural  ignorance  of  god.        103 

of  reason,  but  against  the  light  of  revelation.     Adam  and 
^,    ^      . ,  ,  ^        the  patriarchs  were  not  left  Avithout  Divine 

The   first    idolaters  '■ 

sinned  against  reveia-  guidance  in  relation  to  the  worship  of  God. 
They  had  an  express  law  which  they 
knew  to  be  from  Him.  Those  who  departed  from  this 
law,  or  corrupted  it  by  their  own  arbitrary  inventions,  were 
guilty  of  wilful  and  deliberate  apostasy.  They  did  not  like 
to  retain  God  in  their  knowledge.  The  principle  which 
prompted  their  apostasy  is  the  principle  which  lies  at  the 
root  of  all  the  subsequent  aberrations  of  their  children. 
None  sought  after  God,  none  desired  the  knowledge  of  His 
ways,  none  were  disposed  to  glorify  His  name ;  and  the  con- 
sequence was  that  they  were  given  up  to  walk  in  the  light 
of  their  own  eyes  and  after  the  imagination  of  their  own 
hearts,  and  instead  of  light  to  embrace  only  the  shadow 
of  death. 



"ITrE  have  already  said  that  all  the  speculations  of  the 
'  '  human  mind  in  relation  to  the  Supreme  Being  may 
be  reduced  to  three  questions  :  An  sit  Deus  f  Quid  sit  Deus  f 
Qualis  sit  Deus  f — that  is,  they  all  have  reference  either  to 
His  Existence,  His  Nature  or  His  Attributes.  The  first  has 
been  the  subject  of  the  precedino;  lectures  : 

Quid  sit  Deus?  ''  ^  ^  ' 

the  second  now  demands  our  attention. 
To  the  question  concerning  the  nature  and  extent  of  our 
Two  contradictory     kuowledgc  of  God,  two  auswcrs  directly 
answers :  (1.)  God  per-    contradictory  havc  bccu  returned  by  philo- 

I'ectly  comprehensible.  ,  ^-^  ■,  ,^  ti/-^t 

sophers.  One  party  has  amrmed  that  God 
is  not  only  comprehensible  in  Himself,  it  being  His  nature 
to  be  intelligible,  but  that  the  actual  compreliension  of  His 
essence,  as  made  up  of  the  ideas  which  constitute  absolute 
reason  or  intelligence,  is  the  condition  of  intelligence  in  re- 
lation to  every  other  object.  We  may  not  only  know  Him, 
but  we  can  know  nothing  else  without  knowing  Him. 
"  Philosophy,"  says  Cousin,'  "  will  not  deny  the  accusation 
of  wishing  to  penetrate  into  the  depths  of  the  Divine  essence 
which  common  opinion  declares  to  be  incomprehensible. 
There  are  those  who  Avould  have  it  incomprehensible. 
There  are  men,  reasonable  beings,  whose  vocation  it  is  to 
comprehend  and  who  believe  in  the  existence  of  God,  but  %vho 
will  believe  in  it  only  under  the  express  condition  that  this 
existence  is  incomprehensible.     What  does  this  mean  ?     Do 

^  Introduc.  to  Hist.  Phil.,  Linberg's  Trans.,  p.  132. 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUE   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.       105 

they  assert  that  this  existence  is  absolutely  incomprehensi- 
ble? But  that  which  is  absolutely  incomprehensible  can 
liave  no  relations  which  connect  it  with  our  intelligence, 
nor  can  it  be  in  any  wise  admitted  by  us.  A  God  who  is 
absolutely  incomprehensible  by  us  is  a  God  who,  in  regard 
to  us,  does  not  exist.  In  truth,  what  would  a  God  be  to  us 
who  had  not  seen  fit  to  give  us  some  portion  of  Himself,  and 
so  much  of  intelligence  as  might  enable  His  wretched  crea- 
tui'e  to  elevate  himself  even  unto  Him,  to  comprehend  Him, 
to  believe  in  Him  ?  Gentlemen,  what  is  it  to  believe  ?  It 
is,  in  a  certain  degree,  to  comprehend.  Faith,  whatever  be 
its  form,  whatever  be  its  object,  whether  vulgar  or  sublime — 
faith  cannot  but  be  the  consent  of  reason  to  that  which  rea- 
son comprehends  as  true.  This  is  the  foundation  of  all 
faith.  Take  away  the  possibility  of  knowing,  and  there 
remains  nothing  to  believe,  for  the  very  root  of  faith  is  re- 
moved. Will  it  be  said  that  God  is  not  altogether  incom- 
prehensible?— ^that  He  is  somewhat  isomprehensible  ?  Be 
it  so,  but  let  the  measure  of  this  be  determined,  and  then  I 
will  maintain  that  it  is  precisely  the  measure  of  the  com- 
2)rehensibility  of  God  which  will  be  the  measure  of  human 
faith.  So  little  is  God  incomprehensible  that  His  nature  is 
constituted  by  ideas,  by  those  ideas  whose  nature  it  is  to  be 
intelligible.  .  .  .  God,  the  substance  of  ideas,  is  essentially 
intelligent  and  essentially  intelligible." 

The  other  party  represents  the  Divine  nature,  in  common 
with  the  nature  of  every  other  being,  as 
inSipSlnsTwe!'"^  Utterly  beyond  the  reach  of  thought.  It 
never  can  be  a  positive  element  of  con- 
sciousness. God  is  and  ever  must  be  the  great  unknown. 
The  language  in  which  the  writers  of  this  school  sometimes 
express  themselves  is  so  strong  as  to  convey  the  notion  that 
God  is  so  entirely  aloof  from  all  relation  to  our  faculties 
that  we  know,  and  can  know,  absolutely  nothing  about  Him 
but  the  bare  fact  of  his  existence. 

"  We  cannot,"  says  Bishop  Browne,  as  quoted  by  Pro- 

106       LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  IV. 

fessor  Fraser/  "  be  said  only  to  have  indistinct,  confused  and 
imperfect  apprehensions  of  the  true  nature  of  God  and  of 
His  real  attributes,  hut  none  at  all  in  any  degree.  The  true 
meaning  of  the  word  incomj)rehensible  is  that  we  have  no 
idea  at  all  of  the  real,  true  nature  of  God."  Those  patris- 
tic representations  of  the  Deity  which  make  Him  "  the  un- 
known subject  of  attributes  absolutely  unknown/'  to  which 
Bishop  Browne  subsequently  refers,  are  traced  by  Berkeley^ 
to  the  Pseudo-Dionysius  the  Areopagite.  This  author, 
Berkeley  observes,  "  hath  written  upon  the  Divine  attri- 
butes in  a  very  singular  style.  In  his  treatise  of  the  Celes- 
tial Hierarchy  he  saith  that  God  is  something  above  all 
essence  and  life,  ut:e(}  Tzaaav  ouaiav  xai  qtorjV)  and  again  in  his 
treatise  of  the  Divine  names,  that  He  is  above  all  wisdom 
and  understanding,  u>t£/>  no.aav  aoifiav  xal  auveatv ;  ineffable 
and  innommable,  dypr^ro^;  xal,  di^wi^v/uoc; ;  the  wisdom  of  God 
he  terms  an  unreasonable,  unintelligent  and  foolish  wisdom, 
TT^v  dXoyov  xal  dvouu  xal  fio)f>dv  aotfiav.  But  then  the  reason 
he  gives  for  expressing  himself  in  this  strange  manner  is, 
that  the  Divine  wisdom  is  the  cause  of  all  reason,  wisdom 
and  understanding,  and  therein  are  contained  the  treasures 
of  all  wisdom  and  knowledge.  He  calls  God  uTiipaoifoz 
xal  uTtiit^w^,  as  if  wisdom  and  life  were  words  not  worthy 
to  express  the  Divine  perfections ;  and  he  adds  that  the 
attributes,  unintelligent  and  unperceiving,  must  be  ascribed 
to  the  Divinity,  not  xaz  iUst<f'iu  by  way  of  defect,  but  xad' 
bTiEpoY^YjV,  by  way  of  cminency,  which  he  explains  by  our 
giving  the  name  of  darkness  to  light  inaccessible."  This 
mode  of  dealing  with  the  Divine  nature  Berkeley  very 
happily  characterizes  as  "  the  method  of  growing  in  expres- 
sion and  dwindling  in  notion,  as  clearing  up  doubts  by  non- 
sense and  avoiding  difficulties  by  running  into  affected  con- 

Sir  William  Hamilton,  whose  philosophy  by  no  means 
leads  to  a  total  denial — on  the  other  hand  it  expressly  pos- 
tulates a  necessary  faith  and  a  relative  knowledge — of  trans- 

•  Essays  in  Philos.,  p.  216.  ^  Minute  Pliilos.,  Dial,  iv.,  §  19. 

Lect.  IY.]  limits   of   our    KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        107 

ceudcnt  Existence,  has  yet,  at  times,  expressed  himself  in 
terms  which  justify  the  remark  of  Professor  Fraser,'  that 
"  the  Scottish  philosopher  seems  to  cut  away  every  bridge 
by  which  man  can  have  access  to  God."  To  maintain  the 
absolute  incognoscibility  of  God  is  to  maintain  the  absolute 
imj)ossibility  of  religion.  The  philosopher,  accordingly, 
who  in  modern  times  has  so  triumphantly  demonstrated 
that  ontological  science  is  a  "  mere  fabric  of  delusion,"  was 
but  consistent  with  himself  when  he  resolved  the  essence  of 
religion  into  obedience  to  the  moral  law. 

The  truth  lies  between  these  extremes ;  God  is  at  once 
known  and  unknown.     In  His  transcendent 

Truth  in  the  midJle.       -p,    .  ,        i  i     •     n     ' 

Beuig,  as  absolute  and  infinite,  though  a 
necessary  object  of  faith.  He  cannot  be  an  object  of  thought. 
We  cannot  represent  Him  to  the  understanding,  nor  think 
Him  as  He  is  in  Himself.  But  in  and  through  the  finite 
He  has  given  manifestations  of  His  incomprehensible  reality, 
which,  though  not  sufficient  to  satisfy  the  demands  of  spec- 
ulation, are  amply  adequate  for  all  the  ends  of  religion. 
Human  knowledge  is  the  same  in  form,  whatever  may  be 
the  diversity  of  its  objects.  The  knowledge  of  God  is,  con- 
sequently, not  different  in  kind  from  the  knowledge  of  any 
other  being.  Though  unlimited  in  Himself,  the  absence  of 
limitation  in  Him  does  not  remove  the  limitation  of  our 
faculties,  and  we  are  compelled  to  know  Him,  as  men,  under 
the  same  conditions  and  restraints  under  which  we  know  the 

finite.     There  are  three   conditions  which 

Three  roiiditions  of  •  ,  -i         rri 

all  kuowiedge.  cousciousncss   iicvcr   can    transcend,     ihe 

first  is,  that  the  immediate  matter  of  our 
knowledge  is  not  things  as  they  are  in  themselves,  but  things 
as  they  appear — phenomena,  and  not  the  transcendent  reality 
which  underlies  them  and  imparts  to  them  their  coherence 
and  their  unity.  We  know  matter,  we  know  mind,  not 
absolutely  as  matter  or  mind,  but  as  that  which  appears  to 
us  under  the  forms  of  extension,  solidity,  figure,  motion,  etc., 
or  that  which  appears  to  us  under  the  forms  of  thinking, 
1  Essays  in  Philos.,  p.  222. 

108       LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  IV. 

feeling,  willing.  Our  knowledge,  therefore,  is  confined  to 
phenomena,  and  to  phenomena  only.  Another  condition  is, 
that  we  know  only  those  appearances  of  things  which  stand 
in  relation  to  our  faculties.  There  may  be  other  appearances 
which  they  are  capable  of  presenting  to  other  intelligences. 
It  would  be  unphilosophical  to  assume  that  our  senses  ex- 
haust all  the  properties  of  matter,  or  our  consciousness  all 
the  properties  of  mind.  All  that  we  can  say  is,  that  they 
exhaust  all  the  appearances  or  phenomena  which  we  are  ca- 
pable of  knowing.  Others  may  exist,  but  their  existence  to 
us  is  a  blank.  De  non  apparentibus  et  non  existcntibus  eadem 
est  7'atio.  The  third  is,  that  in  knowing  phenomena,  and  the 
phenomena  related  to  us,  we  are  irresistibly  impelled  to  pos- 
tulate a  transcendent  something  beyond  them,  as  the  ground 
of  their  coexistence  and  uniformity.  As  these  "  phenomena 
appear  only  in  conjunction,"  says  Sir  William  Hamilton,^ 
"  we  are  compelled  by  the  constitution  of  our  nature  to  think 
them  conjoined  in  and  by  something ;  and  as  they  are  phe- 
nomena, we  cannot  think  them  the  phenomena  of  nothing, 
but  must  regard  them  as  the  properties  or  qualities  of  some- 
thing that  is  extended,  solid,  figured,  etc.  But  this  some- 
thing, absolutely  and  in  itself — i.  e.,  considered  apart  from  its 
phenomena — is  to  us  as  zero.  It  is  only  in  its  qualities,  only 
in  its  effects,  in  its  relative  or  phenomenal  existence,  that  it 
is  cognizable  or  conceivable;  and  it  is  only  by  a  law  of 
thought  which  compels  us  to  think  sometljing  absolute  and 
unknown,  as  the  basis  or  condition  of  the  relative  and  known, 
that  this  something  obtains  a  kind  of  incomprehensible 
reality  to  us."  To  this  unknown  something,  in  its  generic 
sense,  as  comprehending  the  basis  of  all  phenomena,  we  ap- 
ply the  name  of  substance ;  in  its  specific  sense,  as  indicating 
the  basis  of  the  phenomena  of  extension,  we  call  it  matter ; 
as  indicating  the  basis  of  the  phenomena  of  consciousness, 
we  call  it  mind  or  spirit.  "  Thus  mind  and  matter  " — I  re- 
sume the  Avords  of  Hamilton — "  as  known  and  knowable,  are 
only  two  different  series  of  phenomena  or  qualities ;  mind 
'  Metaphys.,  Lect.  viii. 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUE   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.       109 

and  matter,  as  unknown  and  unknowable,  are  the  two  sub- 
stances in  which  these  two  different  series  of  phenomena  or 
qualities  are  supposed  to  inhere." 

Hence  in  our  knowledge  of  the  finite  there  are  evidently 
two  elements  or  factors.     There  is,  first,  the 

PliPiioniena  and  sub-  1    j.'  11  ll'l  i 

gjj^^^g  relative  and  phenomenal,  winch  can  be  con- 

ceived and  known  ;  this  is  the  j)roper  object 
of  thought.  There  is,  secondly,  the  substance  or  substratum, 
the  quasi  absolute,  which  cannot  be  represented  in  thought, 
but  which  is  positively  believed  as  existing.  One  element 
addresses  itself  to  intelligence  and  the  other  to  faith.  Both 
are  felt  to  be  equally  true.  Both  concur  in  every  cognition 
of  the  finite.  Take  away  the  belief  of  substance,  and  you 
destroy  the  unity  of  phenomena ;  take  away  the  conception 
of  phenomena,  and  you  destroy  the  conditions  under  which 
the  belief  of  substance  is  realized.  It  is  in  and  throuo-h  the 
phenomena  that  substance  is  knoicn;  they  are  the  manifest- 
ations of  it  as  a  transcendent  reality ;  it  is  a  real  existence 
to  us  under  these  forms.  As,  then,  the  properties  of  matter 
Properties  reveal  ^"^  miud  are  rclativc  manifestations  of 
substance,  and  the  fi-     transccndeut  rcalitics  beyond  them,  so  the 

nite  the  infinite.  .  •  i  i  i         • 

finite,  considered  as  such,  is  a  relative 
manifestation  of  an  absolute  and  infinite  being;  without 
whom  the  finite  is  as  unintelligible  as  a  phenomenon  with- 
out substance.  The  notion  of  cause  is  a  necessary  element 
of  reason.  The  notion  of  the  finite  is  the  notion  of  an  eifect, 
of  something  dependent  in  its  being.  A  finite  absolute  is  a 
contradiction  in  terms.  The  causal  nexus  as  much  necessi- 
tates the  belief  of  the  infinite  and  absolute  when  we  contem- 
plate the  finite  and  dependent,  as  the  nexus  of  substance  and 
accident  necessitates  the  belief  of  substance  when  we  contem- 
plate phenomena.  Without  the  infinite,  no  finite — without 
the  absolute,  no  relative,  is  as  clear  and  unambiguous  an  ut- 
terance of  human  reason  as  no  properties  without  a  subject. 
"The  really  necessary  causal  judgment,"  says  Professor 
Fraser,^  "  has,  as  it  seems  to  us,  another  reference  altogether, 
1  Essays,  p.  242. 

110       LIMITS   OF   OUR    KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  IV, 

than  to  laws  of  nature  and  uniformities  of  succession  among 
the  finite  changes  of  the  Universe.  It  is  a  general  expression 
of  the  fundamental  conviction  of  reason,  that  every  finite  event 
and  being  dependfi  on  and  practically  reveals  infinite  or  trans- 
cendent Power.  It  is  a  vague  utterance  of  dissatisfaction 
with  an  absolutely  finite  Universe — totum,  teres  atque  rotun- 
dum — and  of  a  positive  belief,  not  only  that  finite  objects 
exist,  but  that  they  do  not  exhaust  existence,  seeing  that  they 
depend  on  God.  We  are  intellectually  dissatisfied  as  long 
as  the  object  of  which  we  are  in  quest  is  within  the  range  of 
logical  laws,  and  therefore  recognized  as  a  power  only  in- 
definitely great.  The  dissatisfaction  projects  reason  beyond 
the  realm  of  finite,  and  therefore  scientifically  cognizable, 
existence.  The  mental  necessity  which  thus  conducts  us  to 
the  Transcendent  Being  and  Power,  with  or  without  the  in- 
tervention of  finite  beings  and  second  causes,  is  the  root  of 
the  only  truly  necessary  causal  judgment  we  can  discover." 
The  finite  accordingly  is  a  real,  though  oi;ily  a  relative, 
manifestation  of  the  infinite.  It  gives  the  fact  of  its  exist- 
ence; we  know  that  it  is,  though  we  do  not  know  it  as 
it  is. 

In  all  this  there  is  nothing  peculiar  either  in  our  know- 
ledge or  our  ignorance  of  God.  The  mystery  which  shrouds 
His  being  is  the  same  in  kind  with  the  mystery  which 
shrouds  the  being  of  every  other  object.  In  both  cases 
there  are  the  same  elements — an  incomprehensible  reality 
■which  transcends  the  capacit}'  of  thought,  and  comprehensi- 
ble phenomena  which  are  readily  moulded  into  the  forms 
of  the  understanding ;  and  in  both  cases  the  comprehensi- 
ble is  the  exponent,  the  manifestation,  the  all  that  is  know- 
able  by  us,  of  the  incomprehensible.  Properties  reveal  sub- 
stance, and  the  finite  reveals  the  infinite — not  that  properties 

are  like  substance,  or  the  finite  like  the  In- 
infinUel'b-irreTelis  u!     ^"1^.     Wc  havc  uo  right  to  make  the  one 

rejiresentative  of  the  other.  But  projicr- 
ties  arc  the  modes  under  which  substance  appears  to  our 
understandings,  and  the  finite  the  mode  under  which  the 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.       Ill 

absolute  appears.  "  We  know  God,"  says  Calvin/  "  who  is 
Himself  invisible  only  through  His  works.  Therefore  the 
apostle  elegantly  styles  the  worlds  za  jxr]  ex  (faiuo/xii^cou 
^Xenofitva,  as  if  one  should  say,  '  the  manifestation  of  things 
not  apparent.'  This  is  the  reason  why  the  Lord,  that  He 
may  invite  us  to  the  knowledge  of  Himself,  places  the  fab- 
ric of  heaven  and  earth  before  our  eyes,  rendering  Himself, 
in  a  certain  manner,  manifest  in  them.  For  His  eternal 
power  and  Godhead,  as  Paul  says,  are  there  exhibited. 
And  that  declaration  of  David  is  most  true,  that  the  heav- 
ens, though  without  a  tongue,  are  yet  eloquent  heralds  of 
the  glory  of  God,  and  that  this  most  beautiful  order  of 
nature  silently  proclaims  His  admirable  wisdom.  ...  As 
for  those  who  proudly  soar  above  the  world  to  seek  God  in 
His  unveiled  essence,  it  is  impossible  but  that  at  length  they 
should  entangle  themselves  in  a  multitude  of  absurd  fig- 
ments. For  God,  by  other  means  invisible,  as  we  have 
already  said,  clothes  Himself,  so  to  speak,  with  the  image  of 
the  world  in  which  He  would  present  Himself  to  our  con- 
templation. They  who  will  not  deign  to  behold  Him  thus 
magnificently  arrayed  in  the  incomparable  vesture  of  the 
heavens  and  the  earth,  afterwards  suffer  the  just  punish- 
ment of  their  proud  contempt  in  their  own  ravings.  There- 
fore, as  soon  as  the  name  of  God  sounds  in  our  ears,  or  the 
thought  of  Him  occurs  to  our  minds,  let  us  clothe  Him  with 
this  most  beautiful  ornament ;  finally,  let  the  world  become 
our  school,  if  we  desire  rightly  to  know  God." 

As  it  is  the  causal  nexus  which  upon  the  contemplation 

of  the  finite  elicits  in  consciousness  the  necessary  belief  of 

the  Infinite,  and  as  the  effects  which  we  behold,  being  effects, 

cannot  be  the  attributes  or  properties  of  God,  the  question 

arises.  What  are  the  intuitions  by  which 

The  question.  •  i  i  i 

we  represent  in  thought  the  comprehen- 
sible element  of  our  knowledge?  How,  in  other  words, 
do  we  think  God  ?  AVhat  are  the  data  which  we  combine 
in  the  conception,  and  what  is  our  security  that  these  data 
'  Comment,  on  Genesis,  Argument  (Calvin  Transl.  Soc),  vol.  i.,  pp.  59,  60. 

112        LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OP    GOD.  [Lect.  W. 

are  +he  real   appearances  of  such  a  Being  to  minds  like 

To  this  the  only  satisfactory  answer  which  can  be  given 
is,  that  all  the  intuitions,  or,  as  Locke  would  express  it,  all 
the  simple  ideas,  which  enter  into  the  complex  notion  of 
God,  as  thought  by  the  human  understanding,  are  derived 
from  the  human  soul.  The  j)0ssibility  of  theology  depends 
upon  the  postulate  that  man  reflects  the  image  of  His 
Maker.  We  have  seen  that  reason  is  so  constituted  that 
when  adequately  developed  it  spontaneously  ascends  from 
the  phenomena  of  exj^erienee  to  a  First  Cause,  an  abso- 
lute and  infinite  Being  which  it  is  constrained  to  construe 
as  intelligent,  powerful  and  good,  as  a  just  moral  Ruler 
and  the  supreme  object  of  worship)  and  adoration.  Intelli- 
gence, wisdom,  power,  liberty,  goodness,  justice,  truth,  right- 
eousness and  beauty, — these  are  attributes  without  which 
God  is  God  no  more.  Whence  do  we  derive  these  con- 
cepts ?     Whence  are  our  notions  of  know- 

All  concepts  of  God        i     -i  -t  l    x       j.1    o       ^Tti 

from  the  humaa  soul,  ledge,  gooduess  and  truth?  \\  hence  our 
notion  of  power?  Most  evidently  they 
spring  from  our  own  minds.  Our  own  consciousness  is  the 
storehouse  from  which  they  are  drawn.  We  can  conceive 
no  intelligence  but  the  human ;  Ave  can  think  no  power  but 
that  which  is  suggested  by  the  energy  of  our  own  wills ;  we 
can  have  no  moral  intuitions  but  those  which  are  given  by  our 
own  consciences.  Man,  therefore,  sits  for  the  picture  that 
he  sketches  of  God.  But  is  God  only  man  upon  a  larger 
scale?  Is  the  infinite  only  a  higher  degree  of  the  finite  ?  It 
is  a  saying  of  the  Pseudo-Dionysius  the  Areopagite — and  it 
has  generally  been  accepted  as  a  sufficient  indication  of  the 
truth — that  in  ascending  from  the  creature  to  God  we  pro- 
ceed by  the  method  of  causality,  of  negation  and  of  emi- 
nence. In  the  way  of  causality  I  am  constrained  to  affirm 
that  every  perfection  which  is  contained  in  the  effect  was 
previously  contained  in  the  cause.  But  as  the  perfections 
of  the  creature  exist  under  many  limitations  and  conditions 
which  are  inconsistent  with  the  notion  of  the  Infinite,  I  am 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        113 

led  in  the  way  of  negation  to  remove  those  restrictions  and 
defects,  and  to  posit  the  perfections  in  the  abstract.  Then, 
by  the  way  of  eminence,  I  strive  to  represent  these  perfec- 
tions as  expanded  even  to  infinity.  Thouglit  struggles  to 
magnify  until  it  sinks  back  upon  itself  exhausted  in  the 
effort.  Examples  of  all  these  methods  the  Scholastic 
divines^  profess  to  find  in  the  Scriptures.  Thus,  Psalm 
xciv.  9,  10  is  an  instance  of  the  way  of  causality :  "  He 
that  planted  the  ear,  shall  He  not  hear  ?  He  that  formed 
the  eye,  shall  He  not  see  ?  He  that  chastiseth  the  heathen, 
shall  not  He  correct  ?  He  that  teacheth  man  knowledge, 
shall  not  He  know?"  In  Numbers  xxiii.  19  we  have  an 
illustration  of  the  method  of  negation  :  "  God  is  not  a  man, 
that  He  should  lie ;  neither  the  son  of  man,  that  He  should 
repent.  Hath  He  said,  and  shall  He  not  do  it  ?  Or  hath  He 
spoken,  and  shall  He  not  make  it  good  ?"  The  method  of 
eminence  is  signalized  in  Isaiah  Iv.  8,  9  :  "  For  my  thoughts 
are  not  your  thoughts,  neither  are  your  ways  my  ways,  saith 
the  Lord.  For  as  the  heavens  are  higher  than  the  earth,  so 
are  my  ways  higher  than  your  ways,  and  my  thoughts  than 
your  thoughts." 

This  is  the- process — and  it  is  a  process  natural  to  reason, 
as  inevitable  as  the  laws  of  thought — by  which  we  are 
led  to  the  belief  of  an  absolutely  perfect  being.  The 
notion  of  an  ens  realissimum  is  not  the  arbitrary  product  of 
the  fancy,  but  the  necessary  result  of  speculation,  when  a 
cause  is  sought  for  the  manifold  phenomena  of  the  finite. 
Relative  perfection  is  construed  as  the  manifestation  of  the 
absolute.  It  is  the  form  under  which  it  aj)pears  to  our  con- 
ditioned consciousness.  It  is  not  the  same  with  it,  nor  like 
it,  but  reveals  it — reveals  it  as  existing ;  reveals  it  as  a  neces- 
sary article  of  faith  conceived  only  under  analogy.  The 
relative  perfection,  in  other  words,  is  the  form  or  symbol 
under  which  the  absolute  appears. 

And  here  let  me  explain  the  terms  absolute  and  infinite  in 
their  relation  to  God,  which  have  become  household  words 
1  De  Moor,  c.  i.,  ?  13. 
Vol.  I.— 8 

114        LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lfxt.  IV. 

of  modern  philosophy.  The  absokite  is  that  which  is  self- 
existent  and  underivcd — which  exists  with- 
Jd%'nuTLvi^'l  out  dependence  upon,  or  necessary  relation 
to,  any  other  being.  The  infinite  is  that 
which  includes  all  reality,  all  being  and  all  perfection  within 
itself.  It  is  the  totality  of  existence.  It  is  not  the  unfinish- 
able  of  Sir  William  Hamilton,  for  that  is  essentially  imper- 
fect. It  is  that .  absolute  which  he  has  described  as  the 
Telecoz  of  the  Greeks — a  complete  whole,  to  which  nothing 
can  be  added  and  from  which  nothing  can  be  taken.  In 
the  senses  here  explained  the  infinite  and  the  absolute  co- 
incide. They  are  only  different  phases  of  one  and  the  same 
thing.  There  can  be  no  infinite  without  the  absolute,  no 
absolute  without  the  infinite.  There  cannot  be  necessary 
self-existent  being  which  is  not  also  unconditionally  un- 
limited being.  Hence,  among  divines,  the  absolute  and  in- 
finite are,  for  the  most  part,  interchangeable  terms.  "  The 
metaphysical  representation  of  the  Deity,"  says  Mansel,^  "as 
absolute  and  infinite,  must  necessarily,  as  the  profoundest 
metaphysicians  have  acknowledged,  amount  to  nothing  less 
than  the  sum  of  all  reality.  '  What  kind  of  an  absolute 
being  is  that,'  says  Hegel,  '  which  does  not  contain  in  itself 
all  that  is  actual,  even  evil  included?'  We  may  repudiate 
the  conclusion  with  indignation,  but  the  reasoning  is  unas- 
sailable. If  the  absolute  and  infinite  is  an  object  of  human 
conception  at  all,  this,  and  none  other,  is  the  conception  re- 
quired. That  which  is  conceived  as  absolute  and  infinite 
must  be  conceived  as  containing  within  itself  the  sum,  not 
only  of  all  actual,  but  of  all  possible  modes  of  being.  For 
if  any  actual  mode  can  be  denied  of  it,  it  is  related  to  that 
mode  and  limited  by  it ;  and  if  any  possible  mode  can  be 
denied  of  it,  it  is  capable  of  becoming  more  than  it  now  is, 
and  such  a  capability  is  a  limitation.  Indeed  it  is  obvious 
that  the  entire  distinction  between  the  possible  and  the  actual 
can  have  no  existence  as  regards  the  absolutely  infinite ;  for 
an  unrealized  possibility  is  necessarily  a  relation  and  a  limit. 
^  Limits  of  Eel.  Thought,  Lect.  ii. 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS  OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        115 

The  scholastic  saying,  Deus  est  actus  purus,  ridiculed  as  it 
has  been  by  modern  critics,  is  in  truth  but  the  expression  in 
technical  language  of  the  almost  unanimous  voice  of  philo- 
sophy, both  in  earlier  and  later  times."  To  this  quotation 
may  be  added  a  confirmatory  quotation  from  the  Living 
Temple  of  John  Howe  :  ^  "  Necessary  being  is  most  unmixed 
or  purest  being,  without  allay.  That  is  pure  which  is  full  of 
itvself.  Purity  is  not  here  meant  in  a  corporeal  sense  [which 
few  will  think],  nor  in  the  moral ;  but,  as  with  metaphysi- 
cians, it  signifies  simj)licity  of  essence.  And  in  its  present 
use  is  more  especially  intended  to  signify  that  simplicity 
which  is  opposed  to  the  composition  of  act  and  possibility. 
We  say,  then,  that  necessary  being  imports  purest  actuality, 
which  is  the  ultimate  and  highest  perfection  of  being.  For 
it  signifies  no  remaining  possibility,  yet  unreplete  or  not  filled 
up  ;  and  consequently,  the  fullest  exuberancy  and  entire  con- 
fluence of  all  being,  as  in  its  fountain  and  original  source. 
We  need  not  here  look  further  to  evince  this  than  the  native 
import  of  the  very  terms  themselves,  necessity  and  possibility  ; 
the  latter  whereof  is  not  so  fitly  said  to  be  excluded  the 
former,  as  contingency  is,  but  to  be  swallowed  up  of  it;  as 
fullness  takes  up  all  the  space  which  were  otherwise  nothing 
but  vacuity  or  emptiness.  It  is  plain,  then,  that  necessary 
being  engrosses  all  possible  being,  both  that  is  and  (for  the 
same  reason)  that  ever  was  so.  For  nothing  can  be,  or  ever 
was,  in  possibility  to  come  into  being,  but  what  either  must 
spring,  or  hath  sprung,  from  the  necessary  self-subsisting 
being.  So  that  unto  all  that  vast  possibility  a  proportionable 
actuality  of  this  being  must  be  understood  to  correspond.  .  .  . 
Necessary  being  can  never  alter,  and  consequently  can  never 
come  actually  to  be  what  it  already  is  not ;  upon  which  ac- 
count it  is  truly  said.  In  ceternis,  posse  et  esse  sunt  idem. 
Wherefore  in  it  is  nothing  else  but  pure  actuality,  as  profound 
and  vast  as  is  the  utmost  possibility  of  all  created  or  produ- 
cible being ;  i.  e.,  it  can  be  nothing  other  than  it  is,  but  can 
do  all  things ;  of  which  more  hereafter." 
1  Pt.  I.,  chap,  iv.,  I  2. 

116        LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  IV. 

Now  the  question  arises,  What  can  we  know,  or  rather 

what  can  we  think,  of  absohite  and  infinite  perfection  ?     As 

The  absolute  not  de-     infinite  and  absolute,  it  is  obvious  that  we 

finable,  yet  the  mind     canuot  represent  it  in  thought  at  all.     We 

demands  it.  i    p  •  i         • 

cannot  define  it  so  as  to  make  it  enter  as  a 
jJositive  element  in  consciousness.  But  still  absolute  per- 
fection is  an  imperative  demand  of  reason ;  the  relative  is 
unmeaning  without  it.  The  human  mind  cannot  dispense 
with  the  faith  of  it.  So  far  from  being  a  chimera,  or  a  mere 
illusion  of  metaphysical  speculation,  it  is  rooted  and  grounded 
in  the  very  structure  of  the  soul.  But  because  we  cannot 
conceive  the  perfections  of  God,  as  they  are  in  themselves 
and  as  they  exist  in  Him — that  is,  because  we  cannot  think 
them  as  infinite  and  absolute — does  it  follow  that  in  trying  to 
think  them  we  think  nothing  at  all ;  or  if  we  think  anything, 
we  think  only  a  delusive  appearance  ? 

This  brings  us  back  to  our  original  question,  to  answer 
which  it  must  be  recollected  that  our  con- 

The  question  answered.  .  /.       .  f  r-i     -i 

cejjtion  of  the  perfections  of  God  embraces 

two  elements — a  positive  and  a  negative  one.     The  positive 

one  is  the  abstract  notion  of  any  particular  perfection,  such 

Positive  and  negative     ^s  wisdom,  intelligence,  justice,  truth,  be- 

eiements  of  the  con-     nevolcncc  Or  powcr,  fumishcd  by  the  phe- 

ception.  . 

nomena  of  our  own  consciousness.  Ihe 
negative  one  is  a  protest  against  ascribing  the  perfection  to 
God  under  the  limitations  and  conditions  of  human  experi- 

A  perfection  abstractly  considered  is  only  a  generalization 
of  language ;  it  is  incapable  of  being  realized  in  thought  ex- 
cept as  given  in  some  special  and  definite  manifestation. 
Knowledge  in  the  abstract,  for  example,  has  no  real  exist- 
ence ;  it  is  only  a  term  expressive  of  that  in  which  all  single 
acts  of  knowledge  concur,  and  applicable  alike  to  every  form 

of  cognition.  It  marks  a  relation  which  uni- 
Go^wviedgir''"     versally  obtains.     Now,  when  we  attribute 

knowledge  to  God,  we  mean  that  there  exists 
in  Him  a  relation  analogous  to  that  signalized  by  this  term- 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         117 

among  us.  "Wlien  we  undertake  to  realize  the  relation  as  it 
exists  in  God,  we  transcend  the  limits  of  our  faculties.  "VVe 
can  only  say  that  it  is  to  Him  what  the  highest  perfection 
of  cognition  is  to  us.  But  as  we  are  obliged  to  think  it  in 
some  concrete  form,  we  conceive  it  as  a  species  of  intuition, 
in  which  the  Divine  consciousness  penetrates  at  a  glance  the 
whole  universe  of  being  and  possibility,  and  surveys  the 
nature  and  relations  of  things  with  absolute,  infallible  cer- 
tainty. The  relation  in  Him  expresses  all  that  we  compass 
by  intuition,  reasoning,  imagination,  memory  and  testimony. 
The  analogy  is  real  and  true.  The  things  analogous  are  by 
no  means  alike.  God  has  not  faculties  like  ours,  which  are 
as  much  a  badge  of  weakness  as  a  mark  of  distinction  and 
honour.  He  knows  without  succession,  and  apprehends  all 
relations  without  reasoning,  comparison  or  memory.  He  is 
not  subject  to  the  condition  of  time  nor  the  necessities  of  in- 
ference. But  though  knowledge  in  Him  is  manifested  dif- 
ferently from  knowledge  in  us,  yet  the  essence  contained  in 
the  abstract  relation  finds  its  counterpart  in  a  manner  suited 
to  an  infinite  consciousness.  Hence  we  think  Divine,  under 
the  analogy,  not  under  the  similitude,  of  human  cognition. 
There  is  that  in  Him  which  stands  in  the  same  relation  to 
certainty  as  intuition  to  us.  And  Locke  long  ago  remarked 
that  we  can  have  a  clear  and  precise  notion  of  relations,  even 
when  the  things  related  are  very  partially  or  obscurely  ap- 

In  the  same  way  power,  abstractly  considered,  expresses  the 
relation  of  a  cause  to  its  effect.     In  itself 

and  how  we  attribute  •         •,     •        •.       i 

to  Him  power,  ^^^  ^^^1  ^^  morc  conccivc  it  lu  its  humau 

than  its  Divine  manifestations.  It  is  that 
in  the  cause  which  produces  the  effect,  and  we  think  it  only 
in  connection  with  its  effects.  Now,  this  relation  is  con- 
ceived as  subsisting  in  God  with  reference  to  the  products  of 
His  sovereign  will.  There  is  something  in  Him  analogous 
to  what  we  experience  in  the  operations  of  our  own  Avills. 
We  think  of  void  space.  We  conceive  it  occupied  by  body 
which  has  just  been  called  into  being.     We  cannot  repre- 

118  LIMITS   OF   OUR    KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         [Lect.  IV. 

seut  the  rationale  of  creation,  but  we  can  clearly  compre- 
hend the  kind  of  relation  implied  in  the  creative  fiat.  It 
is  as  intelligible  as  that  between  impulse  and  motion. 

The  same  holds  in  the  case  of  goodness,  justice  and  love, 
and  all  the  moral  and  intellectual  perfec- 

goodness,  justice,  love.  ,  i   •    i  -i  i  *  i      •    i 

tions  which  we  ascribe  to  the  Almighty. 
The  abstract  notions  are  generalizations  from  the  sphere  of 
our  own  experience,  and  we  think  them  in  God  as  some- 
thing; which  is  the  same  to  Him  as  these  relations  are  to  us. 
The  thing  positively  represented  is  the  human  manifestation 
in  its  purest  form,  but  it  is  attributed  to  God  in  the  way  of 
analogy,  and  not  of  actual  similitude.  His  infinite  perfec- 
tions are  veiled  under  finite  symbols.  It  is  only  the  shadow 
of  them  that  falls  upon  the  human  understanding.  Such  is 
the  process.  A  perfection  is  given  in  man  under  manifold 
forms  and  conditions.  The  perfection  is  reduced  to  an  ab- 
stract notion,  equally  realized  in  all  and  equally  cogitable  in 
all,  but  in  itself  actually  inconceivable.  We  ascribe  it  to 
God  in  the  perfection  of  its  essence  as  an  abstract  notion, 
and  endeavour  to  think  it  under  relations  in  Him  analogous 

to  those  in  which  it  is  revealed  in  us.  We 
aiw^rau^gSr"'     ai-e  sure  that  there  is  something  in  Him 

which  corresponds  to  these  relations  in  us. 
Hence  the  positive  element  in  our  efforts  to  think  God  is 
always  analogical. 

"Thomas  Aquinas,"  says  Berkeley,^  "expresseth  his 
sense  of  this  point  in  the  following  manner :  All  perfec- 
tions, saith  he,  derived  from  God  to  the  creatures  are  in  a 
certain  higher  sense,  or  (as  the  Schoolmen  term  it)  eminently 
in  God.  Whenever,  therefore,  a  name  borrowed  from  any 
perfection  in  the  creature  is  attributed  to  God,  we  must  ex- 
clude from  its  signification  everything  that  belongs  to  the 
imperfect  manner  wherein  that  attribute  is  found  in  the 
creature.  Whence  he  concludes  that  knowledge  in  God  is 
not  a  habit,  but  a  pure  act.  And,  again,  the  same  doctor 
observes  that  our  intellect  gets  its  notions  of  all  sorts  of 
1  Minute  Philos.,  Dial,  iv.,  U  20,  21, 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         119 

perfections  from  the  creatures,  and  that  as  it  apprehends 
those  perfections,  so  it  signifies  them  by  names.  Therefore, 
saith  he,  in  attributing  those  names  to  God  we  are  to  con- 
sider two  things :  first,  the  perfections  themselves,  as  good- 
ness, life  and  the  like,  which  are  properly  in  God ;  and, 
secondly,  the  manner  which  is  peculiar  to  the  creature,  and 
cannot,  strictly  and  properly  speaking,  be  said  to  agree  to 
the  Creator.  And  although  Suarez,  with  other  Schoolmen, 
tcacheth  that  the  mind  of  man  conceiveth  knowledge  and 
will  to  be  in  God  as  fiiculties  or  operations  by  analogy  only 
to  created  beings,  yet  he  gives  it  plainly  as  his  opinion  that 
when  knowledge  is  said  not  to  be  properly  iu  God,  it  must 
be  understood  in  a  sense  including  imperfection,  such  as  dis- 
cursive knowledge,  or  the  like  imperfect  kind  found  in  the 
creatures ;  and  that  none  of  those  imperfections  in  the  know- 
ledge of  men  or  angels,  belonging  to  the  formal  notion  of 
knowledge,  or  to  knowledge  as  such,  it  will  not  thence  fol- 
low that  knowledge  in  its  proper,  formal  sense  may  not  be 
attributed  to  God ;  and  of  all  knowledge  taken  in  general 
for  the  clear,  evident  understanding  of  all  truth,  he  expressly 
affirms  that  it  is  in  God,  and  that  this  was  never  denied  by 
any  philosopher  who  believed  a  God.  It  was  indeed  a  cur- 
rent opinion  in  the  schools  that  even  being  itself  should  be 
attributed  analogically  to  God  and  the  creatures.  .  .  .  But 
to  prevent  any  man's  being  led  by  mistaking  the  scholastic 
, ,  ,  ,.        ,  ,^      use  of  the  terms  analogy  and  analogical 

Scholastic  use  of  the  "^  "^  ^      ^ 

term  anaingicai  ex-  into  an  opiuiou  that  wc  canuot  frame  in 
^  '""^  ■  any  degree  a  true  and  proper  notion  of 

attributes  applied  by  analogy,  or,  in  the  school  phrase, 
'predicated  analogically,  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  inquire  into 
the  true  sense  and  meaning  of  these  words.  Every  one 
knows  that  analogy  is  a  Greek  word  used  by  mathematicians 
to  signify  a  similitude  of  proportions.  For  instance,  when  we 
observe  that  two  is  to  six  as  three  is  to  nine,  this  similitude 
or  equality  of  proportion  is  turned  analogy.  And  although 
2')roportion  strictly  signifies  the  habitude  or  relation  of  one 
quantity  to  another,  yet  in  a  looser  and  translated  sense  it 

120         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  IV. 

liatli  been  applied  to  signify  every  other  habitude,  and  con- 
sequently the  term  analogy  comes  to  signify  all  similitude 
of  relations  or  habitudes  whatsoever.  Hence  the  School- 
men tell  us  there  is  analogy  between  intellect  and  sight,  for- 
asmuch as  intellect  is  to  the  mind  what  sight  is  to  the  body, 
and  that  he  who  governs  the  state  is  analogous  to  him  who 
steers  a  ship.  Hence  a  prince  is  analogically  styled  a  pilot, 
being  to  Ijie  state  as  a  pilot  is  to  his  vessel.  For  the  further 
clearing  of  this  point,  it  is  to  be  observed,  that  a  twofold 
analogy  is  distinguished  by  the  Schoolmen — metaphorical 
and  proper.  Of  the  first  kind  there  are  frequent  instances  in 
Holy  Scripture  attributing  human  parts  and  passions  to 
God.  When  He  is  represented  as  having  a  finger,  an  eye  or 
an  ear — when  He  is  said  to  repent,  to  be  angry  or  grieved — 
every  one  sees  that  analogy  is  merely  metaphorical,  be- 
cause those  parts  and  passions  taken  in  the  proper  significa- 
tion must  in  every  degree  necessarily,  and  from  the  formal 
nature  of  the  thing,  include  imperfection.  When,  therefore, 
it  is  said  the  finger  of  God  appears  in  this  or  that  event, 
men  of  common  sense  mean  no  more  but  that  it  is  as  truly 
ascribed  to  God  as  the  works  wrought  by  human  fingers  are 
to  man,  and  so  of  the  rest.  But  the  case  is  different  Avhen 
wisdom  and  knowledge  are  attributed  to  God.  Passions 
and  senses,  as  such,  imply  defect,  but  in  knowledge  simply, 
or  as  such,  there  is  no  defect.  Knowledge,  therefore,  in  the 
proper,  formal  meaning  of  the  word,  may  be  attributed  to 
God  proportionably — that  is,  preserving  a  proportion  to  the 
infinite  nature  of  God.  We  may  say,  therefore,  that  as 
God  is  infinitely  above  man,  so  is  the  knowledge  of  God 
infinitely  above  the  knowledge  of  man,  and  this  is  what 
Cajetan  calls  analogia  proiwih  facta.  And  after  this  same 
analogy  we  must  understand  all  those  attributes  to  be- 
long to  the  Deity  which  in  themselves  simply  and  as 
such  denote  perfection.  We  may,  therefore,  consistently 
with  what  hath  been  premised,  affirm  that  all  sorts  of  per- 
fection which  we  can  conceive  in  a  finite  spirit  are  in  God, 
but  without  any  of  that  alloy  which  is  found  in  the  crea- 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         121 

tures.  This  cloctriDe,  therefore,  of  analogical  perfection  in 
God,  or  of  knowing  God  by  analogy,  seems  very  much  mis- 
understood and  misapplied  by  those  who  would  infer  from 
thence  that  we  cannot  frame  any  direct  or  proper  notion, 
though  never  so  inadequate,  of  knowledge  or  wisdom  as  they 
are  in  the  Deity,  or  understand  any  more  of  them  than  one 
born  blind  can  of  light  and  colours." 

This  passage  of  Berkeley,  aimed  at  the  theory  of  Bishop 

Browne,  maintained  in  the  Divine  Analogy,  which  seems  to 

l^reclude  the  possibility  of  any  real  or  certain  knowledge  of 

God,  labours  under  one  defect.     It  takes 

Berkeley  criticised.  ,   . 

for  granted  that  we  have  a  positive  notion 
of  knowledge,  wisdom  and  every  other  human  perfection, 
simply  and  in  themselves.  Yet  no  one  has  more  conclusively 
shown  than  himself  that  abstract  terms  have  no  objects  cor- 
responding to  them,  but  are  only  contrivances  of  language 
for  the  abridgment  of  human  thought.  They  express  noth- 
ing that  can  ever  be  conceived  apart  frOm  individuals.  We 
cannot,  therefore,  think  knowledge  in  general  except  as  mani- 
fested in  some  particular  instance  of  cognition.  In  the  given 
instance  we  can  leave  out  of  view  what  is  special  and  distin- 
guishing, and  attend  only  to  what  equally  belongs  to  every 
other  instance ;  but  something  that  has  been  given  in  intui- 
tion must  be  represented  in  thought.  Hence,  to  attribute 
knowledge  to  God  is  to  think  Him  as  knowing  in  some  way. 
We  must  take  some  form  of  human  consciousness  and  trans- 
fer it  to  Him.  But  the  most  perfect  form,  that  of  intuition 
itself,  is  manifested  in  us  under  conditions  which  cannot  be 
applied  to  God.  But  the  most  perfect  form  is  the  highest 
under  which  we  can  conceive  it.  As,  therefore,  we  cannot 
attribute  it  in  this  finite  form  to  God,  all  that  we  can  say  is 
that  knowledge  in  Him  is  analogous  to  knowledge  in  us. 
It  is  a  relation  which  implies  absolute  certainty  and  infalli- 
bility. We  attribute  the  finite  to  God 
mel^t'aprotesr  '''"  ^^^^^  ^  protcst  that  the  finite  form  only 
expresses  a  similarity  of  relation. 
Again,  the  difference  betwixt  Divine  and  human  know- 

122         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         [Lect.  IV. 

ledge  is  not  one  simply  of  degree.  It  is  a  difference  in  kind. 
God's  knowledge  is  not  like  ours,  and  therefore  we  are 
utterly  unable  to  think  it  as  it  is  in  Him.  We  can  only 
think  it  under  the  analogy  of  ours  in  the  sense  of  a  simi- 
larity of  relations.  It  is  to  Him  what  ours  is  to  us.  It  is 
to  the  whole  universe  of  being,  actual  and  possible,  what  ours 
is  to  the  small  portion  that  presents  itself  to  our  faculties. 

This  protest  is  only  a  series  of  negations — it  affirms  sim- 
ply what  God  is  not,  but  by  no  means  enables  us  to  conceive 
what  He  really  and  positively  is.  It  is  the  infinite  and  ab- 
solute applied  to  the  attributes  which  we  are  striving  to 
represent.  Still  these  negative  notions  are  of  immense  im- 
portance.     They  are  clear  and  pregnant 

Importance  of  these  /•       •  j.i     j.     j.i  •  •  x  j       j. 

negative  ideas.  couiessions    that   there    IS   a   transcendent 

reality  beyond  all  that  we  are  able  to  con- 
ceive or  think,  in  comparison  with  which  our  feeble  thoughts 
are  but  darkening  counsel  by  words  without  knowledge. 
They  reveal  an  unknown  sphere  to  which  the  region  of  the 
the  known  bears  no  more  proportion  than  a  point  to  infinite 
space.  They  stand  as  an  awful  warning  of  the  immensity 
of  human  ignorance.  Besides  this,  they  are  regulative  prin- 
ciples, which  indicate  how  far  Ave  are  at  liberty  to  reason 
from  the  positive  element  of  our  knowledge,  and  apply  our 
conclusions  to  God.  When  the  potency  of  these  conclusions 
lies  in  the  finite  forms  under  which  the  abstract  perfection 
is  thought,  and  not  in  the  perfection  itself,  abstractly  con- 
sidered, we  may  be  sure  of  error.  We  are  then  making 
God  altogether  such  a  one  as  we  ourselves,  and  transfer- 
ring to  Him  the  limitations  and  conditions  which  attach  to 
our  finite  consciousness.  Incalculable  mischief  has  been 
done  by  reasoning  from  human  conceptions  of  the  attributes 
of  God  under  their  human  manifestations,  and  silently  over- 
looking those  salutary  negations  which  if  attended  to  would 
at  once   convict   our   conclusions  of  blas- 

The    negative    ele- 

m  nt  of  positive  ng-     phcmy.     Hcucc  the  negative    in   thought 
has  a  positive  regulative  value.      It  is  a 
beacon  to  warn  us  and  to  guide  us. 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        123 

The  result  of  this  inquiry  into  the  nature  and  extent  of 
our  knowledge  of  God  may  be  summed  up 

Sum  of  results.  •         ^        n  ^^  •  '    '  A  1 

ni  the  lollowmg  propositions.  As  we  know 
only  in  and  through  our  own  faculties,  our  knowledge  must 
be  determined  by  the  nature  of  our  faculties.  The  conditions 
of  consciousness  are  such  that  we  can  never  directly  appre- 
hend aught  but  the  phenomenal  and  relative ;  and  yet  in  the 
apprehension  of  that  we  are  constrained  to  admit  a  real  and 
an  absolute  as  the  necessary  explanation  of  appearances. 
The  infinite  is  never  apprehended  in  itself;  it  is  only  known 
in  the  manifestations  of  it  contained  in  the  finite.  As  exist- 
ing, it  is  known — it  is  a  positive  affirmation  of  intelligence ; 
but  it  cannot  be  translated  into  the  forms  of  the  understand- 
ing— it  cannot  be  conceived,  except  as  the  annihilation  of 
those  limitations  and  conditions  which  are  essential  to  the 
possibility  of  human  thought.  We  know  that  it  is,  but  we 
know  not  lohat  it  is.  In  our  actual  concept  of  God,  while 
we  are  constrained  to  recognize  Him  as  an  infinite  and  ab- 
solutely perfect  being,  yet  we  are  unable  to  realize  absolute 
and  infinite  perfection  in  thought.  We  only  know  that  it 
must  be ;  but  our  utmost  efforts  to  grasp  it  amount  to  nothing 
more  than  the  transmutation  of  a  series  of  negations  into  de- 
lusive affirmations.  The  matter  of  our  thought,  in  repre- 
senting the  Divine  perfections,  is  taken  from  the  phenomena 
of  human  consciousness.  The  perfections  which  we  experi- 
ence in  ourselves  are  reduced  to  their  utmost  abstraction  and 
purity,  and  then  applied  to  God  in  the  way  of  analogy.  We 
do  not  know  His  perfections,  consequently,  as  they  are  in 
themselves  or  in  Him,  but  as  they  appear  to  us  under  finite 
forms  and  symbols.  This  analogical  conception,  however,  is 
accompanied  with  the  belief  that  the  relative  necessarily  im- 
])lies  the  absolute ;  and  therefore  in  the  very  act  of  imperfect 
thought  our  nature  protests  against  the  imperfect  as  an  ade- 
quate or  complete  representation.  We  feel  that  we  see 
through  a  glass  darkly — that  it  is  only  a  glimpse  of  truth 
that  we  obtain  ;  but  the  little,  though  partial  and  defective — 
a  mere  point  compared  to  the  immense  reality — is  inexpress- 

124        LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  IV. 

ibly  iirccious,  for  its  object  is  God.  If  it  is  only  the  hem 
of  His  garment  that  we  are  permitted  to  behold,  it  impresses 
us  with  a  sense  of  His  glory. 

This  relative,  partial,  analogical  knowledge  of  God  is  the 
Catholic  doctrine  of  theologians.  If  au- 
heie.''°  "^"'"^  ^*  °'"'  thorities  were  needed,  I  might  quote  them 
even  ad  nauseam.  Let  a  few  examples  suf- 
fice. "  His  essence,  indeed,"  says  Calvin,^  "  is  incompre- 
hensible, utterly  transcending  all  human  thought;  but  on 
each  of  His  works  His  glory  is  engraven  in  characters  so 
bright,  so  distinct,  and  so  illustrious  that  none,  however  dull 
and  illiterate,  can  plead  ignorance  as  their  excuse."  Again  :  ^ 
"  Hence  it  is  obvious  that  in  seeking  God  the  most  direct 
path  and  the  fittest  method  is  not  to  attempt  with  presump- 
tuous curiosity  to  pry  into  His  essence,  which  is  rather  to  be 
adored  than  minutely  discussed ;  but  to  contemplate  Him  in 
His  works,  by  which  He  draws  near,  becomes  familiar,  and 
in  a  manner  communicates  Himself  to  us." 

"  The  terms  by  which  attributes  are  predicated  of  God," 
says  Cocceius,^  "  are  employed  in  condescension  to  our  modes 
of  thinking  and  speaking.  For,  as  Nazianzen  affirms,  to 
know  God  is  difficult,  to  speak  Him  is  impossible ;  or  rather, 
to  speak  God  is  imj^ossible,  to  know  Him  is  still  more  im- 
possible. His  attributes  are  to  be  understood  analogically. 
The  perfections  which  we  find  in  the  creatures  testify  to  a 
fountain  inconceivably  more  perfect  in  God,  to  whicli  the 
creature  is  in  some  measure  assimilated  and  bears  M'itness." 

"  We  cannot  have,"  says  Charnock,^  "  an  adequate  or  suit- 
able conception  of  God.  He  dwells  in  inaccessible  light — 
inaccessible  to  the  acuteness  of  our  fancy,  as  well  as  the 
weakness  of  our  sense.  If  we  could  have  thoughts  of  Him 
as  high  and  excellent  as  His  nature,  our  conceptions  must  be 
as  infinite  as  His  nature.  All  our  imaginations  of  Him  can- 
not represent  Him,  because  every  created  species  is  finite ;  it 
cannot,  therefore,  represent  to  us  a  full  and  substantial  notion 

1  Inst.,  Lib.  I.,  c.  v.,  I  1.  ^  i^gt.^  Lib.  I.,  c.  v.,  ?  9. 

2  Sum.  Theol.,  c.  ix.,  ?  33.  *  Works,  vol.  i.,  p.  274. 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF    GOD.         125 

of  an  infinite  being.  We  cannot  think  or  speak  worthily 
enough  of  Him,  who  is  greater  than  our  words,  vaster  than 
our  understandings.  Whatsoever  we  speak  or  think  of  God 
is  handed  first  to  us  by  the  notice  we  have  of  some  perfection 
in  the  creature,  and  explains  to  us  some  particular  excellency 
of  God,  rather  than  the  fullness  of  His  essence.  .  .  .  But  the 
creatures  whence  we  draw  our  lessons  being  finite,  and  our 
understandings  being  finite,  it  is  utterly  impossible  to  have 
a  notion  of  God  commensurate  to  the  immensity  and  spirit- 
uality of  His  being.  God  is  not  like  to  visible  creatures, 
nor  is  there  any  proportion  between  Him  and  the  most 
spiritual."  In  another  place  he  says,^  "  God  is,  therefore,  a 
spirit  incapable  of  being  seen,  and  infinitely  incapable  of 
being  understood.  .  .  .  There  is  such  a  disproportion  be- 
tween an  infinite  object  and  a  finite  understanding,  that  it  is 
utterly  impossible  either  to  behold  or  comprehend  Him." 

"  It  is  a  true  rule  of  theologians,"  says  Macrovius,^  "  that 
God  and  the  creature  have  nothing  in  common  but  the  name. 
The  reason  is,  because  God  differs  from  a  creature  more 
than  a  creature  from  nonentity."  ^ 

"  God,"  says  Augustin,^  "  is  ineffable ;  we  can  more  readily 
say  what  He  is  not  than  what  He  is." 

I  come  now  to  consider  the  objection,  that  if  our  know- 
ledge  of  God  is  only  relative  and  analogical, 

The  objection  that       .       ®  •'  .  o  ^ 

relative  and  auaiogi-  it  canuot  DC  acccptcd  as  any  just  or  true 
cai  knowledge  does  not     representation  of  the  Divine  Being,  but  of 

represent  God  to  us.  i  ~' 

something  essentially  different.  It  is  not 
God  that  we  know,  but  a  mere  series  of  appearances — the 
products  of  our  own  minds,  which  we  have  substituted  in 
His  place  and  hypostatized  with  His  name.  If  nothing 
more  were  meant  than  that  we  do  not  know  God  as  He  is 
in  Himself,  and  as,  consequently,  He  knows  Himself,  the 
objection  would  certainly  have  to  be  admitted.  No  such 
knowledge  is  competent  to  the   creature.     The   finite   can 

^  Vol.  i.,  p.  256.  ^  Theol.  Polem.,  c.  iv. 

3  Cf.  Th.  Aquin.  Sum.  Theol.,  Pars  Prim.,  Qu.  xii.,  3,  4. 
*  Enarrat.  in  Psalm  Ixsxv.  12. 

126  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         [Lect.  IV. 

never  hope  to  comprehend  the  Infinite  as  the  Infinite  com- 
prehends itself.  But  if  it  is  meant — which  it  obviously  must 
be  if  the  objection  is  designed  to  destroy  the  foundations  of 
religion — tliat  our  knowledge  of  God  does  not  apprehend  the 
appearances  which  such  a  being  must  make  to  minds  con- 
stituted like  ours,  that  the  things  which  we  think  are  not 
real  manifestations  of  the  Infinite,  adapted  to  our  faculties 
of  intelligence,  the  objection  is  assuredly  without  reason. 
Either  our  whole  nature  is  a  lie,  or  the  Being  whom  we  thus 
know  under  finite  symbols  is  the  supreme  and  everlasting 
Jehovah.  We  know  Him  as  the  cause,  the  prime  producing 
cause  of  all  that  exists ;  and  this  is  no  delusion.  The  re- 
lation in  which  He  stands  to  His  works  is  clear  and  unam- 
biguous, though  the  mode  in  which  He  realizes  it  transcends 
our  capacity  of  thought.  We  know  Him  as  intelligent  and 
good.  Wisdom  and  benevolence  are  conspicuously  displayed 
in  the  general  order  and  special  adaptations  which  fall  within 
the  compass  of  our  experience;  and  unless  that  primitive 
law  of  intelligence  which  compels  us  to  think  design  as  the 
only  adequate  explanation  of  such  phenomena  is  a  lie,  then 
we  are  sure  that  God  is  wise  and  knowing  and  good.  Con- 
science gives  Him  as  a  moral  ruler,  and  consequently  as  the 
supreme  disposer  of  all  things  ;  and  unless  conscience  is  false, 
the  testimony  must  be  accepted  as  true.  Every  part  of  our 
nature  points  to  Him,  and  bears  record  to  His  character  in 
the  relations  which  He  sustains  to  us.  We  must,  therefore, 
construe  our  whole  nature  into  an  organ  of  deceit,  or  recog- 
nize these  partial  and  relative  conceptions  as  just  conceptions 
of  God  as  far  as  He  appears  to  us.  Beyond  that  appearance 
we  do  not  venture  to  go.  Every  step  we  take  in  reaching 
our  highest  conceptions  of  God  is  a  step  under  the  impulse 
and  direction  of  principles  of  belief  which  constitute  an  es- 
sential part  of  our  being,  and  without  which  we  should  be 
little  better  than  the  beasts  that  perish.  Our  knowledge  as 
far  as  it  goes  is  true,  if  our  faculties  are  not  false.  If  our 
faculties  are  false,  any  other  knowledge  which  was  in  and 
through  them  would  be  equally  liable  to  suspicion.     The 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.  127 

symbols  under  which  we  represent  God  are  not  arbitrary 
creatures  of  the  fancy,  but  the  necessary  products  of  thought 
in  obedience  to  laws  which  it  cannot  transgress ;  and  which, 
while  a  proof  of  limitation  and  defect,  are,  at  the  same  time, 
a  guarantee  of  truth.  All  that  we  pretend  is  to  know  God 
as  He  appears,  and  what  we  maintain  is  that  it  is  really  He 
who  does  so  appear. 

The  objection   in  question    is   equally  valid  against  all 

human  knowledge.  It  is  the  old  cry  of 
all  knowfedge"*^  ^  °     tlic   skcptic.      It    is    uot   matter   that   we 

know,  it  is  not  mind  that  we  know ;  it  is 
only  the  phenomena  of  which  we  are  conscious,  and  these 
phenomena  may  be  the  fantastic  creations  of  the  thinking 
subject,  or  shadows  which  come  and  go  upon  the  surface  of 
our  being  without  any  cause  to  which  we  can  assign  them. 
How  do  we  know  that  the  j^roperties  which  we  attribute 
to  matter  really  represent  anything  in  matter,  or  how  do  we 
know  that  such  a  thing  as  matter  exists  at  all  ?  How  do 
we  know  that  thought,  volition,  feeling  are  the  properties 
of  any  j)ermanent  subject,  rather  than  transient  events 
which  succeed  each  other  in  time  without  being  at  all  de- 
pendent upon  each  other,  or  upon  aught  else,  for  their 
existence  ? 

There  is  but  one  answer  to  all  such  sophistical  objections. 

We  are  obliged  to  trust  in  the  veracity  of 
Answer  to  the  ob-     cousciousncss.     We  kuow  bccausc  wc  be- 


lieve.  Consciousness  assures  us  of  our  own 
existence  as  a  thinking  subject,  and  consciousness  also  assures 
us  of  the  existence  of  another  world  without  us.  We  accept 
matter  and  mind  as  facts,  because  our  nature  constrains  us 
to  believe  them.  The  phenomena  under  which  we  think 
them,  the  same  consciousness  represents  as  the  appearances 
which  the'i/  make  to  us ;  and  therefore  we  accept  them  as 
their  appearances,  as  their  attitude  and  relation  to  our  intel- 
ligence. It  is  precisely  the  same  with  our  knowledge  of 
God.  The  man,  therefore,  Avho  is  free  from  scruples  as  to 
the  existence  of  the  soul  or  the  material  world,  who  is  per- 

128  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         [Lect.  IV. 

suadcd  that  the  phenomena  which  they  present  to  him  are 
not  vain  and  delusive  shows,  but  sober  and  permanent  real- 
ities, is  inconsistent  with  himself  in  denying  equal  certainty 
to  our  knowledge  of  God.  His  argument,  legitimately  car- 
ried out,  would  land  him  in  universal  skepticism.  It  is 
enough  that  we  have  the  same  guarantee  for  the  truth  and 
certainty  of  our  knowledge  of  God  as  we  have  for  the  truth 
and  certainty  of  our  own  being  and  the  existence  of  an  outer 
world.  The  knowledge  of  both  is  subject  to  the  same  lim- 
itations, the  same  suspicions,  the  same  cavils.  They  stand 
or  fall  together.  If  one  is  shadow,  all  is  shadow ;  if  one 
is  solid,  all  is  solid  and  substantial.  There  is  no  middle 
ground.  We  know  absolutely  nothing,  or  what  we  know 
is  true  as  far  as  we  know  it.  Our  knowledge  is  imperfect 
because  we  are  imperfect.  The  plenitude  of  being  cannot 
appear  to  us,  but  what  our  faculties  are  capable  of  receiving 
is  none  the  less  to  be  relied  on  because  they  do  not  receive 
all  that  actually  exists. 

"  It  does  not  follow,"  says  Mansel,^  "  that  our  representa- 
tions are  untrue  because  they  are  imperfect.  To  assert  that 
a  representation  is  untrue  because  it  is  relative  to  the  mind 
of  the  receiver,  is  to  overlook  the  fact  that  truth  itself  is 
nothino;  more  than  a  relation.  Truth  and  falsehood  are  not 
properties  of  things  in  themselves,  but  of  our  conceptions, 
and  are  tested  not  by  the  comparison  of  conceptions  with 
things  in  themselves,  but  with  things  as  they  are  given  in 
some  other  relation.  My  conception  of  an  object  of  sense 
is  true  when  it  corresponds  to  the  characteristics  of  the  ob- 
ject as  I  perceive  it,  but  the  perception  itself  is  equally  a 
relation  and  equally  implies  the  co-operation  of  human 
faculties.  Truth  in  relation  to  no  intelligence  is  a  contra- 
diction in  terms.  Our  highest  conception  of  absolute  truth 
is  that  of  truth  in  relation  to  all  intelligences.  But  of  the 
consciousness  of  intelligences  different  from  our  own  we 
have  no  knowledge,  and  can  make  no  application.  Truth, 
therefore,  in  relation  to  man  admits  of  no  other  test  than 
'^  Limits  of  Eel.  Thought,  Lect.  v. 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS    OF    OUR    KNOWLEDGE   OF    GOD.  129 

the  harmonious  consent  of  all  human  faculties,  and  as  no 
such  faculty  can  take  cognizance  of  the  Absolute,  it  follows 
that  correspondence  with  the  Absolute  can  never  be  re- 
quired as  a  test  of  truth.  The  utmost  deficiency  that  can 
be  charged  against  human  faculties  amounts  only  to  this : 
that  we  cannot  say  that  we  know  God  as  God  knows  Him- 
self— that  the  truth  of  which  our  finite  minds  are  susceptible 
may,  for  aught  we  know,  be  but  the  passing  shadow  of  some 
higher  reality  which  exists  only  in  the  Infinite  Intelligence." 

Confusion  has  no  doubt  been  introduced  into  the  subject 
by  silently  interpreting  phenomenon  and  appearance  as  equiv- 
alent to  a  sham  or  dream.  They  are  contemplated  as  void 
of  reality.  But  what  is  reality  ?  What  is  the  only  reality 
which  our  faculties  can  grasp  ?  It  is  not  a  thing  in  its  ab- 
solute nature,  as  it  exists  in  itself  independently  of  any  per- 
ceiving mind  ;  nor  even  a  thing,  as  Mansel  expresses  it,  "  as 
it  must  manifest  itself  to  all  possible  intelligences  under  all 
possible  laws  of  apprehension."  But  reality  is  that  which 
we  perceive  to  exist,  and  we  perceive  it  as  existing  under 
the  relation  in  which  it  stands  to  our  faculties.  The  phe- 
nomenon is  nothing  but  the  reality  manifested  to  conscious- 
ness under  the  conditions  of  consciousness  itself.  It  is 
not,  then,  a  sham,  a  dream,  a  mere  shine.  The  contrast 
of  reality  is  those  fictions  or  creatures  of  imagination  wliich 
in  dreams  may  be  mistaken  for  realities,  but  which  in  our 
waking  moments  we  know  to  be  manifestations  of  nothing 
apart  from  ourselves.  Hence  a  phenomenal  or  a  relative  is 
none  the  less  a  real  knowledge ;  it  is  the  knowledge  of  real 
existence  as  that  existence  is  manifested  to  us.  The  exist- 
ence is  independent  of  us ;  the  manifestation  is  in  and 
through  the  relation  of  the  object  to  our  consciousness. 
But  I  proceed  to  affirm,  in  the  next  place,  that  our  rela- 

This  knowledge  of    ^^^e  analogical   knowledge  of  God  is  not 
God  both  true  and     only  truc  and  trustworthy,  but  amply  ade- 

adcquate.  r>  ii       i  c        t     •  t 

quate  lor  all  the  purposes  oi  religion.  It 
does  not  satisfy  the  needs  of  speculation,  but  it  is  admira- 
bly adapted  to  the  ends  of  devotion.     If  it  is  lacking  in  that 

Vol.  I.— 9 

130  LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.       [Lkct.  IV. 

characteristic  which  has  a  tendency  to  puff  up,  it  is  not  lack- 
ing in  the  other  and  nobler  quality — the  tendency  to  edify. 
In  order  to  appreciate  the  force  of  this  consideration,  it 
must  be  borne  in  mind  that  man's  j)resent 

It  is  also  adapted  to  t,.  .  i      /»       i  i  t    ,         i      , 

our  present  condition,  couditiou  IS  uot  hual  and  Complete,  but 
initial  and  preparatoiy.  He  is  looking 
forward  to  a  better  and  more  exalted  state.  The  know- 
ledge which  he  needs  is  the  knowledge  which  will  best 
adapt  him  to  acquire  and  intensify  those  habits  of  thought 
and  of  feeling  and  of  action  which  shall  find  their  full 
scope  in  his  future  condition.  His  present  business  is 
education,  and  not  satisfaction  or  enjoyment.  To  say 
that  he  needs  education  is  to  say  that  he  is  imperfect, 
and  that  there  are  impediments  to  his  proficiency  which 
it  demands  patience,  industry,  energy  and  perseverance  to 
surmount.  These  imj)ediments  serve  at  once  as  a  motive  to 
stimulate  exertion,  and  as  the  means  of  fixing  more  firmly 
into  the  character  the  activities  they  call  forth.  The  inten- 
sity of  an  action  measures  its  tendency  to  generate  and  ma- 
ture a  habit.  To  a  being  under  discipline  an  absolute  know- 
ledge of  Divine  things,  were  such  a  knowledge  conceivable  or 
possible,  would  be  wholly  unsuitable.  There  would  be  no 
room  for  faith,  for  consideration,  for  candour,  for  the  bal- 
ancing of  motives ;  there  would  be  no  trial  of  one's  love  of 
truth,  or  duty,  or  good.  If  we  knew  as  God  knows,  we 
should  be  as  God  is.  What  discipline  requires  is  a  mixed 
state,  in  which  men  may  to  some  extent  control  their  opin- 
ions and  regulate  their  choice — a  state  in  which  evil,  to  say 
the  least,  is  possible.  In  such  a  state  the  real  principles 
which  determine  and  constitute  the  moral  character  of  the 
man  are  capable  of  being  fully  displayed.  Error  may  be 
accepted  as  well  as  truth,  temptations  may  prevail  as  well  as 
be  overcome,  man  may  revolt  from  as  well  as  obey  God. 
But  the  great  thing  to  be  attained  is  the  habit  of  entire 
acquiescence  in  the  will  of  God  as  a  matter  of  free,  volun- 
tary choice.  God  presents  Himself  as  a  portion  to  the  soul 
to  be  chosen,  not  forced  upon  it ;  and  in  order  that  the  choice 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUE   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         131 

may  have  its  full  significancy  in  determining  and  express- 
ing character,  it  must  be  made  under  circumstances  in  which 
there  can  be  motives  and  inducements  to  the  contrary. 
Hence  our  imperfection  in  knowledge  is  the  badge  of  our 
probationary  condition.  Absokite,  demonstrative  certainty 
would  preclude  all  trial,  all  choice — that  is,  a  state  to  be 
won  as  a  prize,  and  not  one  in  which  to  begin  a  moral 

In  our  present  condition  we  have  just  that  kind  of  know- 
ledge which  is  suited  to  our  circumstances  and  our  destiny. 
Man's  earthly  state  may  be  contemplated  in  three  aspects : 
1.  As  a  state  of  pure  and  unmixed  proba- 

Three    aspects    of         ,•  .  i-ii         ,i        o  ,       r»i'  'iii 

man's  earthly  state.  ^^^n,  lu  which  by  thc  free  act  of  his  will  he 
was  to  determine  the  permanent  type  of  his 
being.  2.  As  a  state  of  sin  and  misery,  the  legal  and  natural 
consequence  of  his  free  determination  in  his  previous  state. 
3.  As  a  state  of  partial  recovery,  in  which  he  is  to  acquire  a 
meetness  for  the  inheritance  of  the  saints  in  light.  Contem- 
plated in  his  first  estate,  he  had  to  the  full  that  relative  ana- 

The  relative  analo-       logical  kuOwlcdgC  which  falls  tO  the  lot  of 

gicai  knowledge  of     ^ig  facultics.     He   kucw  his    relations    to 

God  suited  to  tlie  first,       r^     t  t  • 

(jrod  as  his  creator,  his  moral  ruler  and  his 
final  reward.  He  knew  the  rule  of  his  duty,  both  natural 
and  positive,  and  was  w^arned  of  the  consequences  which 
must  result  from  transgression.  But  his  knowledge,  as  im- 
perfect and  analogical,  was  founded  in  faith ;  it  rested  upon 
principles  which  he  was  obliged  to  accept,  but  which  he  could 
not  explain.  He  was  thus  brought,  even  in  the  sphere  of 
the  understanding,  face  to  face  with  the  will  of  God.  He 
was  capable  of  asking  questions  which  he  could  not  answer. 
He  could  project  his  reason  beyond  the  limits  which  circum- 
scribed his  faculties.  All  this  was  admirably  suited  to  him, 
as  a  being  to  be  confirmed  in  perfect  acquiescence  with  the 
will  of  God.  If  he  should  be  content  with  his  prescribed 
limits,  and  make  the  law  of  his  life  "  not  my  will,  but  Thine 
be  done,"  he  had  the  gracious  promise  that  what  he  knew 
not  now,  he  should  know  hereafter.     To  complain,  therefore. 

132         LIMITS   OF   OUR    KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         [Lect.  IV. 

of  the  limitations  of  his  knowledge  is  to  complain  that  he 
was  put  upon  probation  at  all.  Higher  knowledge  would 
have  rendered  all  trial  a  mockery.  To  have  been  able  to 
answer  all  questions  Avould  have  been  equivalent  to  the  im- 
possibility of  being  deceived  or  seduced.  Hence  Adam's 
knowledge  was  exactly  the  kind  of  knowledge  suited  to  his 
religion.  Had  he  followed  his  nature — simply  believed 
where  it  prompted  him  to  believe  without  the  ability  to  com- 
prehend ;  had  he  been  content  to  know  only  where  science 
was  possible  to  his  faculties ;  had  he  been  willing  to  accept 
as  facts  what  he  could  not  explain  as  science, — had  he,  in 
other  words,  submitted  with  cheerfulness  to  the  appointment 
of  God,  he  might  have  maintained  his  integrity  for  ever. 
An  absolute  knowledge  is  as  incompatible  with  probation  as 
mathematical  certainty  with  doubt.  The  understanding 
would  have  absolute  control  if  it  had  absolute  knowledge. 
But  there  is  no  medium  between  absolute  and  relative  know- 
ledge. The  latter  may  differ  from  itself  in  degrees,  but  all 
the  decrees  of  it  are  in  contradiction  to  absolute  science. 
The  objection  we  are  considering  is  not  to  the  degree  in 
which  man,  as  man,  has  it,  but  to  the  kind  of  knowledge 
itself.  The  objection  would  abolish  all  limitation,  and  have 
our  theology  the  ectypal  theology  of  God. 

In  the  next  place,  contemplate  man  in  his  fallen  condition 
as  a  sinner,  and  the  knowledge  which  he 

and  to  the  second,  ,  •      i  i  n  i  • 

has  IS,  as  precisely,  adapted  to  his  state. 
It  is  enough  to  make  manifest  his  guilt  and  depravity.  It 
reveals  the  abnormal  tendencies  of  his  soul.  It  affords  a 
conspicuous  proof  of  the  charge  which  God  brings  against 
the  race,  and  at  the  same  time  prevents  the  race  from  sup- 
pressing its  real  dispositions  under  a  constraining,  external 
pressure.  Man  is  lai'gely  at  liberty  to  express  himself — to 
develop  the  very  core  of  his  moral  condition.  The  diffi- 
culties and  perplexities  he  encounters  in  solving  the  enigmas 
of  his  being  only  afford  opportunity  of  exhibiting  in  brighter 
colours  the  real  enmity  of  his  heart  against  God.  They 
enable  him  to  prove  that  he  is  a  sinner  beyond  the  possi- 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KlSfOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         133 

bility  of  doubt.  At  the  same  time  they  furnish  the  instru- 
ments bj  which  the  Holy  Spirit  prepares  him  for  the  recep- 
tion of  the  gospeL  They  give  rise  to  a  conflict,  a  struggle ; 
the  tendency  of  which,  under  the  influence  of  grace,  is  to 
mould  and  subdue.  To  give  an  elect  sinner  absolute  know- 
ledge would  be  to  dispense  with  the  whole  j)rocess  of  con- 
viction of  sin,  and  all  those  conflicts  of  pride,  faith  and  un- 
belief by  which,  in  humility,  he  is  led  to  the  Saviour. 
There  Avould  be  no  room  for  self-examination,  for  faith  or 
for  prayer.  To  give  a  non-elect  sinner  absolute  knowledge 
would  be  to  make  him  a  devil  and  to  drive  him  to  despair. 
If  we  contemplate  man  in  his  state  of  partial  recovery, 
relative  knowledge  is  the  knowledge  which 

and  to  the  third  aspect  i  •  1j.1j.1*1j_'  tt      i  i 

of  our  condition.  alouc  IS  adapted  to  his  duties.     He  has  to 

form  a  holy  character ;  he  has  to  form  it 
within  comparatively  a  short  period.  His  graces  must  be 
put  to  the  test  and  tried  and  strengthened.  He  must  be 
liable  to  the  assaults  of  doubt,  of  fear,  of  unbelief.  He  must 
be  exposed  to  imposture  and  deceit,  that  his  candour,  sin- 
cerity and  love  of  truth  may  have  scope  for  exercise,  and  in- 
crease in  their  intensity.  He  must  walk,  therefore,  by  faith, 
and  not  by  sight.  Now  all  this  is  incompatible  with  abso- 
lute knowledge ;  it  is  incompatible  with  even  much  higher 
degrees  of  relative  knowledge  than  we  now  enjoy.  Hence, 
in  every  aspect  our  knowledge  is  enough  for  the  ends  of 
religion.  All  that  is  required  is  true  humility — a  spirit  of 
perfect  contentment  with  our  lot.  If  we  see  through  a  glass 
darkly,  it  is  because  a  brighter  vision  would  be  destructive 
of  the  ends  of  our  present  moral  state. 

Then,  again,  the  finite  symbols  under  which  we  know 

It  also  converts  our     ^^^^  ^"11  a  natural    transitiou  from    our 

daily  life  into  an  ar-     natural  to  our  rcligious  life ;  or  rather  are 

gument  for  devotion.  ,  ,  i-i  i    •^       ^•  o      • 

the  means  by  which  our  daily  life  is  con- 
verted into  an  argument  for  devotion.  If  it  is  only  in  the 
creature  that  we  see  God,  the  creature  should  be  obviously 
subordinated  to  the  glory  of  God ;  and  if  human  affections 
are  to  be  directed  toward  God,  the  relations  under  which 

134         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        [Lect.  IV. 

they  are  developed  with  reference  to  each  other  are  the 
relations  under  which  they  must  fasten  on  Him.  "  We 
are  not  called  upon,"  says  Mansel/  "to  live  two  distinct 
lives  in  this  world.  It  is  not  required  of  us  that  the  house- 
hold of  our  nature  should  be  divided  against  itself — that 
those  feelings  of  love  and  reverence  and  gratitude  which 
move  us  in  a  lower  degree  toward  our  human  relatives  and 
friends  should  be  altogether  thrown  aside  and  exchanged 
for  some  abnormal  state  of  ecstatic  contemplation,  when  we 
bring  our  prayers  and  praises  and  thanks  before  the  footstool 
of  our  Father  in  heaven.  We  are  none  of  us  able  to  grasp 
in  speculation  the  nature  of  the  Infinite  and  Eternal,  but 
we  all  live  and  move  among  our  fellow-men,  at  times  need- 
ing their  assistance,  at  times  soliciting  their  favours,  at  times 
seeking  to  turn  away  their  anger.  We  have  all,  as  chil- 
dren, felt  the  need  of  the  supporting  care  of  parents  and 
guardians ;  we  have  all,  in  the  gradual  progress  of  educa- 
tion, required  instruction  from  the  wisdom  of  teachers ;  we 
have  all  offended  against  our  neighbours,  and  known  the 
l)lessings  of  forgiveness  or  the  penalty  of  unappeased  an- 
ger. We  can  all,  therefore,  taught  by  the  inmost  conscious- 
ness of  our  human  feelings,  place  ourselves  in  communion 
with  God  when  He  manifests  Himself  under  human  im- 
ages. '  He  that  loveth  not  his  brother  whom  he  hath  seen,' 
says  the  Apostle  Saint  John,  '  how  can  he  love  God  whom 
he  hath  not  seen?'  Our  heavenly  affections  must  in  some 
measure  take  their  source  and  their  form  from  our  earthly 
ones ;  our  love  toward  God,  if  it  is  to  be  love  at  all,  must 
not  be  wholly  unlike  our  love  towards  our  neighbour ;  the 
motives  and  influences  which  prompt  us  when  we  make 
known  our  wants  and  pour  forth  our  supplications  to  an 
earthly  parent  are  graciously  permitted  by  our  heavenly 
Father  to  be  the  type  and  symbol  of  those  by  which  our 
intercourse  with  Him  is  to  be  regulated." 

There  is  another  aspect  in  which  our  partial  knowledge, 
so    far  from   weakening  the  grounds  of  religious  worship, 
1  Limits  of  Eel.  Thought,  Lect.  iv. 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF    GOD.         135 

has  a  tendency  to  strengthen  them.  If  there  were  an  absolute 
ignorance  of  God,  there  could  be  no  wor- 

Our    partial   know-  1 1       •  r>     i  i        i     i      i 

ledge  strengthens  all  ship  at  all  J  II  tlicrc  wcrc  au  absolute  know- 
the  grounds  of  wor-  j^j^^^  ^^.^  sliould  bc  the  cquals  of  God,  and 
consequently  free  from  all  obligation  to  wor- 
ship. It  is  our  dependence,  marking  us  out  as  finite  beings, 
which  renders  us  creatures  of  religion.  It  is  this  which  gives 
rise  to  prayer,  to  gratitude,  to  obligation,  to  trust  and  to  duty. 
Religion  cannot  be  predicated  of  the  infinite  and  self-suffi- 
cient. It  is  the  characteristic  of  the  rational  and  intelligent 
creature.  Those  finite  symbols  under  which  God  is  repre- 
sented to  us,  and  thought  by  us,  furnish  just  the  intimations 
of  His  character  which  are  suited  to  be  the  basis  of  reve- 
rence and  love.  He  is  our  Creator,  our  Redeemer,  our 
Benefactor,  our  Ruler  and  our  Judge.  He  is  wise  and 
powerful  and  good.  He  is  faithful,  merciful  and  just. 
These  are  the  attributes  which  inspire  confidence,  and  these 
are  the  relations  under  which  religious  affections  are  elicited 
and  fostered.  But  if  we  should  stop  at  the  finite  symbols, 
our  religion  would  degenerate  into  earthly  forms.  We 
should  love  God  as  we  love  a  man,  and  reverence  His  cha- 
racter as  we  honour  a  superior.  Hence,  to  complete  the 
notion  of  religious  worship  we  must  introduce  the  other  ele- 
ment of  our  knowledge,  in  which  God  is  negatively  pre- 
sented as  transcending  the  capacity  of  thought.  It  is  only 
as  we  believe  that  He  is  independent  of  all  limitations  and 
conditions — that  He  is  self-sufficient,  unchangeable  and  eter- 
nal, that  the  heart  can  freely  go  out  to  Him  with  the  full- 
ness of  its  homage.  There  is  no  limit  upon  our  affections 
when  the  object  is  known  to  be  unlimited  in  its  right  and 
fitness  to  receive  them.  The  very  darkness  which  shrouds 
this  infinitude  reacts  upon  our  worship,  and  expands  our 
emotions  into  rapture  and  adoration.  An  awful  sense  of 
sublimity,  grandeur  and  majesty  is  awakened  in  the  soul. 
The  ground  on  wdiicli  we  tread  becomes  holy  ground ;  we 
are  constrained  to  take  the  shoes  from  our  feet,  and  stand  in 
wondering  awe  as  we  gaze  upon  the  glory  of  the  Lord. 

136         LIMITS   OF   OUR    KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        [Lect.  IV. 

Separate  from  God  the  finite  iuiages  in  which  we  clothe 
His  perfections,  and  there  would  be  nothing  to  justify  or 
regulate  our  worship.  Restrict  Him  to  these  finite  appear- 
ances, and  there  would  be  nothing  to  warrant  the  peculiar 
condition  of  mind  which  we  call  religion.  Combine  the  two 
elements  together,  and  you  have  the  object  upon  which  the 
soul  can  pour  forth  all  its  treasures,  and  feel  itself  exalted 
in  the  very  act  of  paying  homage.  The  positive  element 
of  our  knowledge  provides  the  basis  for  extending  to  God 
our  human  aifections ;  the  negative  element  transforms  those 
affections  into  a  sublimcr  offering  than  any  creature  would 
be  authorized  to  receive.  A  finite  superior  may  be  admired ; 
only  an  infinite  God  can  be  adored.  "  I  love  God,"  says 
Gregory  Nazianzen,  "  because  I  know  Him.  I  adore  Him 
because  I  cannot  comprehend  Him."  "  What  we  deny  of 
God,"  says  the  venerable  John  Owen,  "  we  know  in  some 
measure,  but  what  we  affirm  we  know  not ;  only  we  declare 
what  we  believe  and  adore."  We  have  light  enough  to  see 
that  the  object  is  transcendently  glorious,  and  when  it 
passes  beyond  our  vision  into  regions  of  illimitable  excel- 
lence, where  we  have  no  faculties  to  pursue  it,  we  are  only 
the  more  profoundly  impressed  with  the  exceeding  riches 
of  its  glory.  It  is  the  very  light  of  eternity  which  darkens 
time.  It  is  the  brilliancy  of  the  blaze  which  dazzles  and 
confounds  us.  My  ignorance  of  God,  therefore,  in  the  par- 
tial glimpses  which  I  get  of  Him  is  only  a  stronger  argu- 
ment for  loving  Him,  If  what  I  see  is  so  inexpressibly 
sublime  and  worthy — and  what  I  see  is  only  a  point  com- 
pared with  what  I  do  not  see — surely  I  should  have  no  fears, 
no  hesitation  or  reluctance  in  surrendering  myself  unreserv- 
edly and  for  ever  to  Him  whose  name  is  only  a  synonym 
for  the  plenitude  of  glory.  How  admirably  is  our  know- 
ledge adapted  to  the  ends  of  religion !  He  who  would 
quarrel  with  the  present  arrangement  could  never  be  con- 
tent unless  God  should  seat  him  as  an  equal  upon  His 
throne,  for  as  long  as  he  remains  finite  he  can  have  no 

Lect.  IV.]  LIMITS    OF    OUR    KNOWLEDGE    OF    GOD.  137 

other  kind  of  knowledge,  however  it  may  differ  in  degree 
from  that  which  he  now  enjoys. 

The  account  which  has  been  given  of  the  nature  and  ex- 

This   view  of  our     *^°*  ^^  '^^^^'  knowledge  of  God  is  in  perfect 

knowledge    of   God     harmouy  with  the  teaching   of  Scripture. 

agreeable  to  Scripture.  _  ,,  i  i     ^^  •  i 

In  no  respect/  says  Mansel,  '  is  the 
theology  of  the  Bible,  as  contrasted  with  the  mythologies  of 
human  invention,  more  remarkable  than  in  the  manner  in 
which  it  recognizes  and  adapts  itself  to  that  complex  and 
self-limiting  constitution  of  the  human  mind  which  man's 
wisdom  finds  so  difficult  to  acknowledge.  To  human  reason 
the  personal  and  the  infinite  stand  out  in  apparently  irrecon- 
cilable antagonism ;  and  the  recognition  of  one  in  a  religious 
system  almost  inevitably  involves  the  sacrifice  of  the  other. 
The  Personality  of  God  disappears  in  the  Pantheism  of 
India ;  His  infinity  is  lost  sight  of  in  the  Polytheism  of 
Greece.  In  the  Hebrew  Scriptures,  on  the  contrary, 
throughout  all  their  variety  of  books  and  authors,  one 
method  of  Divine  teaching  is  constantly  manifested,  appeal- 
ing alike  to  the  intellect  and  to  the  feelings  of  man.  From 
first  to  last  we  hear  the  echo  of  that  first  great  command- 
ment :  '  Hear,  O  Israel !  the  Lord  our  God  is  one  Lord ; 
and  thou  shalt  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  all  thine  heart, 
and  with  all  thy  soul,  and  with  all  thy  might.'  God  is 
plainly  and  uncompromisingly  proclaimed  as  the  One  and 
the  Absolute  :  '  I  am  the  first,  and  I  am  the  last :  and  be- 
side me  there  is  no  God.'  Yet  this  sublime  conception  is 
never  for  an  instant  so  exhibited  as  to  furnish  food  for  that 
mystical  contemplation  to  which  the  Oriental  mind  is  natu- 
rally so  prone.  On  the  contrary,  in  all  that  relates  to  the 
feelings  and  duties  by  which  religion  is  practically  to  be 
regulated,  we  cannot  help  observing  how  the  Almighty,  in 
communicating  with  His  people,  condescends  to  place  Him- 
self on  what  may,  humanly  speaking,  be  called  a  lower  level 
than  that  on  which  the  natural  reason  of  man  would  be  in- 
clined to  exhibit  Him.  While  His  personality  is  never  suf- 
'  Limits  of  Kel.  Thought,  Lect.  v. 

138         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE    OF   GOD.        [Lect.  IV. 

ferecl  to  sink  to  a  merely  liuman  representation — while  it  is 
clearly  announced  that  His  thoughts  are  not  our  thoughts, 
nor  His  ways  our  ways — yet  His  infinity  is  never  for  a  mo- 
ment so  manifested  as  to  destroy  or  weaken  the  vivid  reality 
of  those  liuman  attributes  under  which  He  ajjpeals  to  the 
human  sympathies  of  His  creature.  '  The  Lord  spake  unto 
Moses  face  to  face,  as  a  man  speaketh  unto  his  friend.'  He 
will  listen  to  our  supplications ;  He  will  help  those  that  cry 
unto  Him ;  He  reserveth  wrath  for  His  enemies ;  He  is  ap- 
peased by  repentance ;  He  showeth  mercy  to  them  that  love 
Him.  As  a  King,  He  listens  to  the  petitions  of  His  sub- 
jects ;  as  a  Father,  He  pitieth  His  own  children.  It  is  im- 
possible to  contemplate  this  marvellous  union  of  the  human 
and  Divine,  so  perfectly  adapted  to  the  wants  of  the  human 
servant  of  a  Divine  Master,  without  feeling  that  it  is  indeed 
the  work  of  Him  who  formed  the  spirit  of  man  and  fitted 
him  for  the  service  of  his  Maker.  '  He  showeth  His  AVord 
unto  Jacob,  His  statutes  and  ordinances  unto  Israel.  He 
hath  not  dealt  so  with  any  nation  ;  neither  have  the  heathen 
knowledge  of  His  laws.'  " 

"  But  if  this  is  the  lesson  taught  us  by  that  earlier  mani- 
festation in  which  God  is  represented  under  the  likeness  of 
human  attributes,  what  may  we  learn  from  that  later  and 
fuller  revelation  which  tells  us  of  One  who  is  Himself  both 
God  and  man  ?  The  Father  has  revealed  Himself  to  man- 
kind under  human  types  and  images,  that  He  may  appeal 
more  earnestly  and  effectually  to  man's  consciousness  of  the 
human  spirit  within  him.  The  Son  has  done  more  than 
this :  He  became  for  our  sakes  very  man,  made  in  all  things 
like  unto  His  brethren  ;  the  Mediator  between  God  and  man, 
being  both  God  and  man.  Herein  is  our  justification  if  we 
refuse  to  aspire  beyond  those  limits  of  human  thought  in 
which  he  has  placed  us.  Herein  is  our  answer  if  any  man 
M'ould  spoil  us  through  philosophy  and  vain  deceit.  Is  it 
irrational  to  contemplate  God  under  symbols  drawn  from  the 
human  consciousness?  Christ  is  our  pattern,  for  Mn  Him 
dwelleth  all  the  fullness  of  the  Godhead  bodily.'     Is  it  un- 


Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         139 

philosophical  that  our  thoughts  of  God  should  be  subject  to 
the  law  of  time  ?  It  was  when  the  fullness  of  time  was  come 
God  sent  forth  His  Son.  Does  the  philosopher  bid  us  strive 
to  transcend  the  human,  and  to  annihilate  our  own  person- 
ality in  the  presence  of  the  infinite  ?  The  Apostle  tells  us 
to  look  forward  to  the  time  when  we  shall  '  all  come  in  the 
unity  of  the  faith,  and  of  the  knowledge  of  the  Son  of  God, 
unto  a  perfect  man ;  unto  the  measure  of  the  stature  of  the 
fullness  of  Christ.'  Does  human  wisdom  seek,  by  some 
transcendental  form  of  intuition,  to  behold  God  as  He  is  in 
His  infinite  nature ;  repeating  in  its  own  manner  the  request 
of  Philip,  '  Lord,  sliow  us  the  Father,  and  it  sufficeth  us  ? ' 
Christ  Himself  has  given  the  rebuke  and  the  reply :  '  He 
that  hath  seen  Me  hath  seen  the  Father ;  and  how  sayest 
thou,  then,  Show  us  the  Father  ? '  " 

The  principle  which  we  have  endeavoured  to  illustrate, 

Consequence,  of  the     touchiug  the  limits  of  humau  knowledge  in 

principle  herein  iiius-     relation  to  Diviuc  thlugs,  is  prcguaut  with 

trated : 

important  consequences. 
1.  In  the  first  pkice,  it  conclusively  shows  that  there  can 
It  shows  that  there     ^6  uo  such  thing  as  a  scicucc  of  God.     We 
is  no  such  thing  as  a     can  hardly  use  the  terms  without  the  sus- 

science  of  God.  .    .  n  t  ^  i  -xtr  i  • 

picion  01  blasphemy.  Were  such  a  science 
possible,  it  would  lay  bare  the  whole  field  of  existence ;  it 
would  reveal  the  nature  of  creation ;  the  relation  of  the  finite 
and  the  infinite  in  all  the  points  of  their  contact ;  and  the  in- 
most essence  of  things.  It  would  be  the  very  knowledge 
which  God  has  Himself.  But  if  we  are  restricted  to  ap- 
pearances, or  to  the  relative  manifestations  of  realities,  our 
science,  at  best,  can  be  but  the  result  of  multiplied  com- 
parisons, and  can  hardly  extend  beyond  the  order  and  suc- 
cession of  phenomena.  Real  being,  as  it  exists  in  itself,  or 
in  relation  to  the  Divine  mind,  must  remain  an  impenetra- 
ble secret.  AVe  have  to  assume  it  as  a  fact,  but  we  can 
neither  explain  nor  conceive  it.  We  cannot  make  it  a  term 
in  logic,  and  reason  from  an  analysis  of  its  contents.  Science 
can  o'o  no  farther  than  observation  can  accumulate  its  facts. 

140         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        [Lect.  IV. 

The  inexplicable  must  ahvays  be  of  larger  extent  than  the 
simple  and  comprehensible.  As,  then,  the  limits  of  human 
thought  encounter  mysteries  in  every  department  of  nature — 
mysteries  which  we  are  obliged  to  accept,  though  they  defy 
every  effort  to  reduce  or  overcome  them  ;  as  matter  is  a 
mystery,  mind  is  a  mystery,  substance  is  a  mystery,  power 
is  a  mystery — surely  we  must  expect  nothing  less  than  mys- 
teries when  we  enter  the  sphere  of  the  infinite.  God  is,  in- 
deed, the  great  incomprehensible.  As  the  principle  of  all 
things,  if  we  could  comprehend  Him  we  should  in  Him 
comprehend  everything  besides.  As  the  sum,  therefore,  of 
all  incomprehensibility,  whenever  we  touch  His  Being  or 
venture  to  scrutinize  His  purposes  and  plans  we  must  ex- 
pect clouds  and  darkness  to  be  round  about  His  throne.  A 
theology  which  has  no  mysteries ;  in  which  everything  is 
level  to  human  thought,  and  capable  of  being  reduced  to 
exact  symmetry  in  a  human  system ;  which  has  no  facts  that 
command  assent  while  transcending  the  province  of  human 
speculation,  and  contains  no  features  which  stagger  the  wis- 
dom of  human  conceit ; — a  system  thus  thoroughly  human 
is  a  system  which  is  self-condemned.  It  has  no  marks  of 
God  upon  it.  For  His  footsteps  are  on  the  sea,  and  His 
paths  in  the  great  waters,  and  His  ways  past  finding  out. 
There  is  no  searching  of  His  understanding.  Such  a  system 
would  be  out  of  harmony  with  that  finite  world  in  which 
we  have  our  place.  For  there  mystery  encompasses  us  be- 
hind and  before — in  the  earth,  the  air,  the  sea  and  all  deep 
places,  and  especially  in  the  secrets  of  our  own  souls.  INIan 
lives  and  breathes  and  walks  amid  mystery  in  this  scene  of 
phenomena  and  shadows,  and  yet  he  would  expect  no 
mystery  in  that  grand  and  real  Avorld  of  which  this  is  only 
a  dim  reflection ! 

2.  In   the   next   place,  this   principle    suggests    the   real 
-^     .  ,       ,  ,,       cause  of  most  of  the  errors  in  theology,  and 

It    iioiiits    out    the  o.  ' 

real  cause  of  most     thc   rcal  solutiou  of  its    uiost   pcrplcxing 

heresies.  ,  , 

Most  heresies  have  risen  from  believing  the  serpent's  lie, 

Lect.  IV.]         LIMITS   OF   OUR   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.         141 

that  our  faculties  were  a  competent  measure  of  universal 
truth.  We  reason  about  God  as  if  we  possessed  an  absohite 
knowledge.  The  consequence  is,  we  are  lost  in  confusion 
and  error.  We  assume  the  infinite  in  our  words  and  think 
the  finite  in  our  minds ;  and  the  conclusion  can  only  be  a 
contradiction  or  a  falsehood.  The  Unitarian  professes  to 
understand  the  Infinite  Personality  of  God,  and  rejects  the 
doctrine  of  the  Holy  Trinity  with  a  smile  of  contempt.  He 
forgets  meanwhile  that  his  argument  has  only  proved  that 
there  cannot  be  three  human  persons  in  the  same  numerical 
essence.  He  has  quietly  eliminated  the  very  element  which, 
for  aught  he  knows  or  can  show,  redeems  the  doctrine  from 
all  reasonable  objection.  Until  he  can  tell  us  lohat  the  In- 
finite is,  we  need  not  listen  to  him  while  he  undertakes  to 
inform  us  lioni  the  Infinite  is.  It  is  so  easy  to  slide  into  tlie 
habit  of  regarding  the  infinite  and  finite  as  only  ditfcrent 
degrees  of  the  same  thing,  and  to  reason  froni  one  to  the 
other  with  the  same  confidence  with  which,  in  other  cases, 
we  reason  from  the  less  to  the  greater,  that  the  caution 
cannot  be  too  much  insisted  on  that  God's  thoughts  are  not 
our  thoughts,  nor  God's  ways  our  ways.  To  treat  the  power 
which  creates  and  the  human  power  which  moves  a  foreign 
body  as  the  same  thing ;  to  apply  to  creation  the  laws  and 
conditions  which  limit  the  mechanisms  of  man ;  to  represent 
the  infinite  as  only  a  higher  degree  of  human  knowledge ; 
and  to  restrict  each  to  the  same  essential  conditions  and 
modifications,  is  to  make  man  God,  or  God  man — a  funda- 
mental falsehood,  which  must  draw  a  fruitful  progeny  in  its 

3.  Our  ignorance  of  i\\e  Infinite  is  the  true  solution  of  the 

It  solves  the  most     ^^^^t  pcrplcxiug  problcms  whicli  cncouuter 

perplexing  problems     us  at  evcry  stcj)  iu  the  study  of  Divine 

of  Theology.  ,  -j^-,     ,  .        ,  /  •     ■       i 

truth.  NVe  have  gained  a  great  ponit  when 
we  have  found  out  that  they  are  really  insoluble — that  they 
contain  one  element  which  we  cannot  understand,  and  with- 
out which  the  whole  must  remain  an  inexplicable  mystery. 
The  doctrines  of  the  Trinity,  of  the  Incarnation,  of  the  Pre- 

142         LIMITS   OF   OUU   KNOWLEDGE   OF   GOD.        [Lect.  IV 

science  of  God  and  the  Liberty  of  Man,  the  Permission  of  the 
Fall,  the  Propagation  of  Original  Sin,  the  Workings  of  Ef- 
ficacious Grace,  all  these  are  facts  which  are  clearly  taught ; 
as  facts  they  can  be  readily  accepted,  but  they  defy  all  efforts 
to  reduce  them  to  science.  Their  feet  rest  upon  the  earth, 
but  their  head  is  lost  in  the  clouds.  Our  wisdom  is  to  be- 
lieve and  adore.  The  limits  of  human  knowledge  are  a 
sufficient  proof  that  thought  is  not  commensurate  with  exist- 
ence ;  that  there  are  things  which  the  very  laws  of  thought 
compel  us  to  accept,  when  it  is  impossible  to  reduce  them 
into  the  forms  of  thought ;  that  the  conceivable  is  not  the 
standard  of  the  real ;  that  "  there  are  more  things  in  heaven 
and  earth  than  are  dreamt  of  in  our  philosophy." 

It  is  a  great  lesson  when  man  has  learned  the  enormity 
of  his  ignorance.  True  wisdom  begins  in  humility,  and 
the  first  dictate  of  humility  is  not  to  think  of  ourselves 
more  highly  than  we  ought  to  think. 



AMONG  the  methods  whicli  the  Scriptures  employ  to 
answer  the  question  concerning  the  nature  and  per- 
fections of  God  is  the  use  of  personal  and  attributive  names. 
These  names,  unlike  proper  names  among 
..l°,\n!inl  J7"     men,  not  only  serve  to  denote  the  object 

names  among  men.  j  j  J 

and  to  make  it  a  subject  of  predication  in 
thought,  but  they  also  signify,  or,  in  the  language  of  the 
schools,  connote,  the  qualities  by  which  the  object  is  distin- 
guished. They  are  not  unmeaning  marks,  discriminating 
one  individual  from  another,  as  if  by  an  arbitrary  sign,  but, 
like  general  terms,  they  are  expressive  of  concepts  which 
are  realized  only  in  God.  They  are  applied  to  Him  be- 
cause they  contain  a  meaning  which  suits  Him.  They  were 
assumed  in  condescension  to  our  weakness,  that  we  might  be 
assisted  in  coming  to  a  knowledge  of  His  being  and  His 

character.  They  are  a  part  of  God's  plan 
T  t!l!.J„„  „°.,v  ™L^°     of  teaching  the  race,  as  it  is  through  the 

of  teaching  our  race.  o  "  o 

explanation  of  names  in  Avhich  the  sum 
of  human  attainment  is  recorded  and  preserved  that  the 
parent  and  teacher  develop  the  opening  faculties  of  the 
child,  and  stimulate  and  encourage  its  expanding  curiosity. 
In  relation  to  those  which  are  not  attributive,  their  very 
employment  as  proper  names  to  designate  a  definite  object 
of  thought  has  obscured  the  connotation  on  account  of 
which  they  were  originally  selected.  They  have  ceased,  in 
a  great  measure,  to  answer  any  other  end  than  to  single  out 
the  Deity  as  the  subject  of  predication.     They  express  Him 


144  THE   NAMES   OP   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

as  a  whole,  and  not  under  any  particular  aspect.  We  must 
trace  them  to  their  origin  if  we  would  understand  the  j^re- 
cise  share  they  have  contributed  in  the  gradual  progress 
of  revelation  to  the  Christian  concept  of  God.  Each  has 
played  a  part  in  the  j)roduction  of  the  general  result,  and  it 
is  curious  as  well  as  instructive  to  trace  the  successive  steps 
by  which  God  has  progressively  unfolded 

God    has   gracUially       tt-  ir    •  .  j         ^    ±-  . 

unfolded  uimsuif.  Mimseli   lu  ucw  aspccts  and  relations  to 

the  human  mind,  until  it  has  reached  its 
present  relative    maturity   of  knowledge.      Many  streams 
have  discharged  their   contents   into  a  common  reservoir, 
and  it  is  remarkable  that  as  the  reservoir  has  increased 
„,  .....      in  quantitv  the  number  of  tributaries  has 

The  names  diminish  i  / 

in  number  as  the  rev-       bcCU    diminished.       TllC    HcbrCW,    the   ear- 
elation  advances.  t  i  p  i      • 

liest  language  oi  revelation,  was  quite  co- 
pious in  its  names  of  God.  The  Greek,  the  next  and  only 
other  language,  with  the  exception  of  a  very  limited  use  of 
the  Chaldee,  employed  by  inspiration,  has  but  two  terms  to 
designate  the  Divine  Being  as  a  total  object  of  thought. 
And  yet  these  two  terms  contain  the  fullness  of  the  Hebrew 
vocabulary.  When  the  idea  was  in  process  of  being  formed 
and  matured  there  were  many  concurrent  elements  which 
were  specially  marked  and  distinguished.  When  the  idea 
was  fully  completed,  or  as  fully  as  the  limits  of  human 
thought  will  allow,  the  elements  were  no  longer  distin- 
guished from  each  other,  but  the  object  was  thought  in  its 
collective  unity  as  a  whole.  One  or  two  comprehensive 
names  include  everything. 

Jerome,^  following  the  computation  of  the  Jews,  enume- 
rates no  less  than  ten  names  of  God  in  Hebrew :  "  El, 
Elohim,  Eloe,  Sabaoth,  Elion,  Eser-Ieje,  Adonai,  Jah, 
Jehovah  and  Saddai."  But  Eloah  and  Elohim  are  evi- 
dently the  same  name  in  different  numbers,  one  being  sin- 
gular and  the  other  plural.  Sabaoth  is  not  a  name  itself, 
but  only  a  descriptive  epithet  applied  to  other  names  of 
God,  particularly  Jehovah.  It  is  usually  translated  hosts, 
^  Epist.  ad  Marcell.  de  Decern  Nom. 

Lect.  v.]  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  145 

and  seems  to  be  a  compendious  expression  for  the  universal  do- 
minion of  God.  The  Lord  of  Hosts  is  the  Lord  of  all  worlds 
and  of  all  their  inhabitants.  Three  others  in  the  list  are  pro- 
bably variations  of  one  and  the  same  name — Jehovah,  Ehyeh 
and  Jah.     The  two  most  important  desig- 

Two  of  the  Hebrew  .  p  nt     i        l_  •    i  •      ji       tt   i 

names  predominant.  natious  of  God  which  occur  m  the  Hebrew 
Scriptures  are  unquestionably  Elohim  and 
Jehovah.  These  are  the  most  common  and  the  most  com- 
plete. They  seem  to  contain  within  themselves  every  attri- 
bute which  every  other  title  connotes,  and  are  consequently 
rendered,  and  rendered  very  properly,  by  dso^  and  xupio^  in 
Greek.  The  use  of  them  in  the  Pentateuch  is  very  remark- 
able.^ There  are  (a)  sections  in  which  the  name  Elohim 
either  exclusively  or  predominantly  obtains ;  (b)  there  are 
sections,  again,  in  which  the  name  Jehovah  is  tlie  exclusive 
or  ^predominant  one ;  (c)  there  are  other  sections  in  which 
the  names  are  promiscuously  used ;  and  then  (d)  there  are 
others  in  which  no  name  of  God  appears  at  all.  From  the 
seventh  chapter  of  Exodus  onward,  with  two  or  three  ex- 
ceptions, the  name  Elohim  almost  entirely  disappears, 
(a.)  The  sections  in  which  the  name  Elohim  prevails  are — 
1.  From  the  beginning  of  the  first  chapter 

Elohim  sections.  .  ii.i 

of  Genesis  to  the  third  verse  of  the  second — 
the  account  of  the  creation.  2.  The  fifth  chapter  of  Gene- 
sis— the  generations  of  Adam,  Avith  the  exception  of  the 
twenty-ninth  verse.  3.  The  sixth  chapter,  from  the  ninth 
to  the  twenty-second  verse — the  generations  of  Noah. 
4.  The  seventh  chapter,  from  the  ninth  to  the  twenty- 
fourth  verse — the  entrance  into  the  ark,  except  that  in  the 
sixteenth  verse  the  name  Jehovah  appears.  5.  The  eighth 
chapter,  to  the  nineteenth  verse — the  end  of  the  flood. 
6.  The  ninth  chapter,  to  the  seventeenth  verse — the  cove- 
nant with  Noah.  7.  The  seventeenth  chaj)ter — the  insti- 
tution of  circumcision.  Here  also  the  name  Jehovah  ap- 
pears  in    the   first   verse.      8.   The    twentieth    chapter — 

1  Delitzsch,  Com.  Gen.  Einleit,  p.  30.     Conf.  note,  p.  63,  the  substance 
of  which  is  given  in  the  text. 
Vol.  I.— 10 

146  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

Sarah's  deliverance  from  Abimelech.  Here  again  Jeho- 
vah is  found  in  the  eighteenth  verse.  9.  The  tAventy-first 
chapter,  to  the  twenty-first  verse — the  birth  of  Isaac  and  the 
sending  away  of  Ishmaeh  Jehovah  here  again  appears  in 
the  first  verse.  10.  The  twenty-first  chapter,  from  the 
twenty -second  to  the  twenty-fourth  verse  —  Abraham's 
league  with  Abimelech.  In  the  thirty-third  verse  we 
have  Jehovah  again.  11.  The  twenty-fifth  chapter,  to  the 
eighteenth  verse — the  sons  of  Keturah,  Abraham's  death 
and  the  generations  of  Ishmael.  The  word,  however, 
occurs  but  once  in  all  this  section.  12.  From  the  forty- 
sixth  verse  of  the  twenty-seventh  chapter  to  the  ninth 
verse  of  the  twenty-eighth  chapter — Jacob's  dismission 
to  Haran,  and  Esau's  marriage.  We  have  Elohim  once 
and  El-Sliaddai  once.  13.  The  thirty-first  chapter — 
Jacob's  departure  from  Laban,  with  the  exception  of  the 
third  and  tlie  forty-ninth  verses,  in  whicli  we  have  Jehovah. 
14.  Chapter  thirty-third — Jacob's  return  home.  15.  Chap- 
ter thirty-fifth — Jacob's  journey  to  Bethel.  16.  From  chap- 
ter forty  to  chapter  fifty — the  history  of  Joseph  in  Egypt. 
In  the  eighteenth  verse  of  chapter  forty-nine  we  have  Jeho- 
vah. 17.  The  first  and  second  chapters  of  Exodus — Israel's 
oppression  in  Egypt  and  the  first  preparation  for  deliverance. 

With  Elohim  is  interchanged  in  these  sections  El-Shad- 
dai  and  El ;  in  connections,  such  as  El-Elohe-Israel  (chap, 
xxxiii.  20),  or  by  itself  alone  (chap.  xxxv.  1 ,  3),  and  only 
once  Adonai  (chap.  xx.  4). 

(b.)  The  sections  in  which  the  name  Jehovah  prevails 
are — 1.    From    Genesis,    second    chapter, 

Jehovah  sections.  />  i  i  •     t        i 

fourth  verse,  to  third  chapter,  twenty- 
fourth  verse — the  beginning  of  the  history  of  man.  2. 
Chapter  fourth — the  history  of  the  first  seed  of  the  woman. 
3.  Chapter  sixth,  from  the  first  to  the  eighth  verse — the 
increasing  corruption  before  the  flood.  4.  Chapter  sev- 
enth, from  the  first  to  the  eighth  verse — entrance  into  the 
ark.  5.  Chapter  eighth,  from  the  twentieth  to  the  twenty- 
second  verse — Noah's  altar  and  Jehovah's  blessing.    6.  Chap- 

Lect.  v.]  the  names  of  god.  147 

ter  ninth,  from  the  eighteenth  to  the  twenty-ninth  verse — 
Noah's  prophecy  of  the  nations.  7.  Chapter  tenth — the 
table  of  original  settlements.  8.  Chapter  eleventh,  from 
the  first  to  the  ninth  verse — ^the  confusion  of  tongues.  9. 
Chapter  twelfth,  from  the  first  to  the  ninth  verse — Abram's 
journey  to  Canaan  upon  Jehovah's  call.  10.  Chapter 
twelfth,  from  the  tenth  to  the  twentieth  verse — Abram  in 
Egypt.  11.  Chapter  thirteenth — Abram's  separation  from 
Lot.  12.  Chapter  fifteenth — Abram's  faith  and  covenant- 
offering.  13.  Chapter  sixteenth — Ishmael's  birth,  Hagar's 
flight  and  return.  14.  Chapter  eighteenth — Jehovah's  visit 
to  Abraham  in  his  tent.  15.  Chapter  nineteenth — the  de- 
struction of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah,  and  Lot's  last  history. 
16.  Chapter  twenty-fourth — Isaac's  marriage.  17.  Chap- 
ter twenty-fifth,  from  the  nineteenth  to  the  twenty-sixth 
verse — the  birth  of  the  twins.  18.  Chapter  twenty-sixth — 
Isaac's  sorrows  and  comforts.  19.  Chapter  twenty-seventh, 
first   forty  verses — transition  of  the  birth-right  to   Jacob. 

20.  Chapter  thirtieth,  from  the  twenty-fifth  to  the  forty- 
third  verse — a  new  covenant  between  Jacob  and   Laban. 

21.  Chapter  thirty-eighth — the  birth  of  Pharez  and  Zarah. 

22.  Chapter  thirty-ninth — Jehovah  with  Joseph  in  Poti- 
phar's  house  and  in  prison.  23.  Exodus,  chapter  fourth, 
from  the  eighteenth  to  the  thirty-first  verse — the  return  of 
Moses  to  Egypt.  24.  Exodus,  chapter  fifth — Pharaoh's 
rouffh  treatment  of  the  messengers  of  Jehovah. 

In  these  sections,  from  Genesis,  second  chapter,  fourth 
verse,  to  end  of  chapter  third,  the  name  Jehovah-Elohim  is 
the  prevailing  usage,  a  combination  which  occurs  only  once 
more  (Ex.  ix.  30)  in  the  whole  Pentateuch.  The  name 
Elohim  occurs  in  this  section  only  in  the  mouth  of  the  ser- 
pent and  the  woman.  The  exceptions  to  the  universal  use 
of  Jehovah  in  the  other  sections  are  very  few.  The  word 
Adonai  most  frequently  interchanges  with  Jehovah,  but  it 
is  always  used  in  the  form  of  a  compellation  or  address. 
(Gen.  xviii.  3,  27,  30,  31,  32 ;  xix.  18.)  The  combination 
Adonai-Jehovah  is  characteristic  of  Deuteronomy.      It  is 

148  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

found  in  Genesis,  fifteenth  chapter,  verses  second  and  eighth, 
and,  with  the  exceptions  of  the  passages  in  Deuteronomy, 
occurs  nowhere  else  in  the  Pentateuch.  As  in  the  Elohini 
sections  that  title  interchanges  with  El,  so  in  the  Jehovah 
sections  that  title  interchanges  with  Adonai.  The  title 
Adonai,  however,  is  used  by  Abimelech  in  one  of  the 
Elohim  sections. 

(c.)  The  sections  in  which  Jehovah  and  Elohim  are  pro- 
miscuously  used    are   Genesis,    fourteenth 

Sections,  where  used         i         ,  ii  ,        ii,i  -.i        ,i  i> 

promiscuously.  Chapter — A  Dram  s    battle  with    the    four 

kings;  twenty-second  chapter,  first  nine- 
teen verses — the  offering  up  of  Isaac ;  twenty-eighth  chap- 
ter, from  the  tenth  to  the  twenty-second  verse — Jacob's 
dream  at  Bethel ;  from  chapter  twenty-ninth,  verse  thirty- 
first,  to  chapter  thirtieth,  verse  twenty-fom-th — the  birth 
and  naming  of  the  sons  of  Jacob.  Another  section  (Gen. 
xxxii.)  in  the  beginning  and  end  is  Elohimish,  and  in  the 
middle  Jehovish.  In  Exodus,  from  the  tlxird  chapter,  first 
verse,  to  the  fourth  chapter,  seventeenth  verse — ^tlie  call  of 
Moses — besides  the  name  Jehovah,  Elohim,  with  the  article, 
occurs  eight  times. 

[d.)  The  sections  in  which  no  name  of  God  apjjears  at  all 
are  Gen.  xi.  10-32 ;  xxii.  20-24 ;  xxiii. ; 

Sections,  where  not  c-*—    r>  j  •'      a-i      a  tr-  •  -i     m-\ 

used  at  all.  ^xv.  27-34;   xxvu.  41-45;   xxix.   1-30; 

xxxiv. ;  xxxvi. ;  xxxvii. 

It  would  seem,  from  such  an  extent  and  variety  of  usage, 

that  it  would  be  easy  to  discriminate  the  precise  shades  of 

meaning   by   which   these   names   are    distinguished   from 

each  other.     But  it  must  be  confessed,  after  all  the  efforts 

of  elaborate  ingenuity,  that  a  steady  and 

The  use  is  often  in-  •/■  t   i*       j^*  •     i  i         j. 

discriminate  uniiomi  distuictiou  IS  by  uo  mcaus  kept  up. 

There  are  numerous  passages  in  which  no 
reason  can  be  given  for  the  use  of  one  in  preference  to  the 
other.  It  is  impossible  to  explain,  for  example,  as  Delitzsch 
has  remarked,^  why  in  all  the  sections — Gen.  vi.  9-22,  ix. 
1-17,  XX.  1-17,  XXXV. — the  name  Jehovah  is  nowhere  used. 

^  Comment.  Gen.  Einleit.,  p.  32. 

Lect.  v.]  THE   NAMES   OF  GOD.  149 

If  it  were  declined  by  design,  we  are  unable  to  detect  the 
because  both  names  ^ature  of  tlic  motive.  The  truth  is,  both 
are  complete  designa-     naiucs  werc  rcvereuced  and  honoured  as  full 

and  complete  designations  of  God.  They 
denoted  the  same  object,  and  denoted  it  in  the  integrity  of 
its  attributes.  Hence  it  was  often  a  matter  of  indiflPerence 
which  was  employed.  The  writer  consulted  his  taste,  and 
used  sometimes  one  and  sometimes  the  other,  merely  to  give 
an  agreeable  variety  to  his  style.  Where  there  was  no 
danger  of  ambiguity  there  was  no  need  of  special  caution  in 
the  selection  of  his  terms. 

But  still  there  are  passages  in  which  the  use  is  the  evident 
result  of  design ;  and  it  is  in  these  passages,  assisted  by  the 
etymology  of  the  words,  that  we  are  to  seek  for  their  true, 
original  connotation. 

I  begin  with  Elohim,  because  that  is  the  first  name  of 

God  which  appears  in  the  Hebrew  Bible. 

It  is  the  title  under  which  He  is  described 
as  the  Creator  of  the  world.  It  was  Elohim  who  called  into 
being  the  heavens  and  the  earth — who  spake  light  into  ex- 
istence, and  separated  the  day  from  the  night.  It  was  He 
who  stretched  out  the  firmament ;  collected  the  waters ;  up- 
raised the  dry  land ;  and  who  peopled  the  earth  with  all  its 
variety  of  plants  and  animals.  It  was  He  who  studded  the 
sky  with  stars,  and  appointed  the  seasons  of  the  earth.  It 
was  He  who  made  man  in  His  own  Divine  image.  We  can- 
not but  think  that  the  selection  of  this  term  in  the  account 
of  creation  was  a  matter  of  design.  There  must  have  been 
a  peculiar  fitness  in  it  to  express  the  relation  of  the  Creator 
to  His  works.  We  pass  through  the  work  of  the  days  until 
we  come  to  the  origin  of  man.  There  the  Elohim  appears 
as  not  only  one,  but  as  also  plural.  He  seems  to  be  in  con- 
sultation with  Himself:  "  Let  us  make  man,  in  our  image, 
after  our  likeness."  The  noun,  too,  is  in  the  plural  number; 
and  while  its  concord  with  singular  verbs  indicates  unity, 
its  plural  form  indicates  plurality.  These  are  all  facts  which 
lie  upon  the  surface. 

150  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

The  first  inference  which  I  draw  is  that  this  word  by  its 
very  form  is  intended  to  express  the  trine 
T^Zlm.  *'''  *""  Personality  of  God.  It  is  the  name  of  the 
Trinity — the  Father,  the  Son  and  the  Holy 
Ghost.  The  consultation  in  Genesis  i.  26  cannot  be  con- 
sistently explained  upon  any  other  hypothesis.  That  alone 
is  enough  to  set  aside  the  notion  of  a  pluralis  majestaticus, 
or  a  pluralis  intensionis.  Then,  again,  we  find  that  the  work 
of  creation  is  promiscuously  ascribed  to  each  Person  of  the 
blessed  Godhead.  It  was,  in  fact,  the  work  of  the  Trinity. 
If  this  is  a  clear  and  indisputable  truth,  we  should  interpret 
the  narrative  in  Genesis  in  conformity  with  its  light.  Thus 
far,  I  think,  the  ground  is  firm  beneath  us.  "When  the 
great  God  is  first  announced  to  us.  He  is  announced  to  us 
by  a  name  which  proclaims  Him  as  the  Father,  Son  and 
Holy  Ghost — the  God  whom  we  adore,  in  the  new  creation, 
through  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 

But  the  question  now  arises.  Why  has  this  particular 
word  been  selected  to  reveal  this  mystery  ?  "What  special 
significancy,  apart  from  this  personal  allusion,  does  it  con- 
tain ?  Here  I  confess  myself  perplexed.  Among  the  con- 
flicting etymologies  which  have  been  proposed,  there  are 
only  two  which  seem  to  me  worthy  of 
serious  consideration.  The  first  is  that 
which  derives  it  from  nSx,  alah  in  the  Arabic  signification 
of  the  root,  to  reverence,  to  worship,  to  adore.  According  to 
this  etymology,  it  is  applied  to  the  Trinity  as  the  sole  object 
of  religious  worship.  The  God  who  exists  in  these  three 
Persons  is  the  only  being  to  whom  we  are  at  liberty  to  direct 
our  prayers  or  our  praises.  We  are  His,  for  He  made  us, 
and  we  are  bound  to  honour  Him  in  His  threefold  subsist- 
ence ;  for  in  this  mysterious  relation  He  is  infinitely  worthy. 
Delitzsch  takes  the  Arabic  root  in  the  sense  of  fear,  and  of  a 
fear  which  deprives  us  of  our  self-possession.  He  supposes 
that  it  is  applied,  by  a  natural  association,  to  the  object 
which  excites  this  fear ;  and  pre-eminently  to  God,  as  the 
truly  terrible  one.     But  this  exposition  is  liable  to  insur- 

Lect.  v.]  the  names  of  god.  151 

mountable  objections.  Such  fear  is  not  the  normal  relation 
betwixt  a  rational  creature  and  God — it  is  the  product  only 
of  sin ;  and  such  fear,  so  far  from  being  acceptable  worship, 
is  utterly  inconsistent  with  the  genuine  spirit  of  devotion. 
God  presents  Himself  to  us  to  be  loved  and  trusted.  He  is 
only  terrible  to  the  workers  of  iniquity.  The  other  etymology 
derives  the  word  from  nSx,  alah,  to  swear,  and  represents 
the  Trinity  as  engaged  in  an  eternal  covenant,  which  was 
ratified  betwixt  them  by  the  solemnity  of  an  oath.  It  is 
certain  that  the  Son  was  constituted  a  priest  for  ever  after  the 
order  of  Melchizedek  by  an  oath.  The  council  of  peace  was 
between  them  both,  and  reference  is  supposed  to  be  had  to 
this  august  transaction — a  transaction  which,  in  its  historic 
accomplishment,  unfolds,  in  full  proportion,  the  glorious 
doctrine  of  the  three  in  one — when  God  is  introduced  as 
erecting  the  stage  upon  which  the  historic  fulfilment  should 
take  place.     This,  I  think,  is  the  real  im- 

The  true  import  of  j.      i?  xl  j.1       rn   •     'x      •  i 

giyjji^j  port  01  the  name — the  irinity  in  covenant 

for  man's  redemption ;  and  if  this  be  so,  it 
is  very  suggestive  that  the  first  title  by  which  God  proclaims 
Himself  to  our  race  should  be  a  title  of  blessedness  and  grace. 
He  appears  in  the  old  creation  only  as  preparing  the  way 
for  the  new.  He  is  God  the  Creator,  that  He  may  be  also 
God  the  Redeemer. 

The  analogical  application  of  this  title  to  kings  and  mag- 
istrates is  compatible  with  either  etymol- 

This  title  applicaUo  -r/*  r^     -\     •  nil  tt       • 

tojjiugs  ogy.     it  God  IS  so  called  because  He  is 

the  object  of  reverence  and  fear,  then  the 
intimation  is  that  subjects  are  bound  to  treat  their  rulers 
with  honour  and  respect.  If  the  allusion  is  to  the  eternal 
covenant  as  ratified  by  an  oath,  then  the  implication  is  that 
magistrates  arc  ministers  of  God,  bound  by  an  awful  sanc- 
tion to  be  a  terror  to  evil-doers  and  a  praise  to  them  that  do 
well.  They  are  reminded  that  their  authority  is  a  sacred 
trust,  and  that  their  claim  to  the  hoinage  of  their  people 
depends  upon  the  fidelity  with  which  they  discharge  their 
duties.     The  people,  too,  are  reminded  of  their  duties,  espe- 

152  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

cially  the  duty  of  reverencing  authority  as  an  ordinance 
of  God. 

Cocceius  adopts  the  derivation  of  Elohim  from  alah,  to 
swear,  but  interprets  the  oath  as  the  sign  not  of  the  Eternal 
Covenant  betwixt  the  Persons  of  the  Godhead,  but  of  the 
covenant  into  which  God  enters  with  men  in  the  dispensa- 
tion of  His  grace.  The  reference,  according  to  him,  is  to 
the  promises  of  the  gospel,  and  the  faithfulness  with  which 
they  shall  certainly  be  fulfilled  to  all  who  believe.  The 
jjredominant  idea  in  this  case,  as  in  the  other,  is  that  of  a 
God  in  covenant,  so  that  this,  however  explained,  may  be 
taken  as  the  fundamental  meaning  of  the  word. 

The  next  title  of  God  which  appears  in  the  Pentateuch, 
and  which  is  everywhere  used  with  awful 

Jehovah.  .  i         ,> 

reverence,  is  the  tetragrammaton,  the  lour- 

lettered  word,  Jehovah.     The  Jews  since  the  exile  have 

ceased    to    pronounce    it.      The    Talmud 

Jewish  superstition.  i      •      i  i 

amrms  that  the  angels  in  heaven  dare  not 
utter  it,  and  denounces  fearful  vengeance  upon  the  bold 
blasphemer  who  should  attempt  to  profane  it.     But  that 

the  name  was  familiar  to   the   patriarchs, 

The  patriarchs  used        . i      i     -i  j.  i    x      xi  r 

the  name.  ^hat  they  wcrc  accustomed  to  the  use  oi 

it,  and  knew  of  no  superstition  which  con- 
verted it  into  a  charm,  is  manifest  from  many  passages  of 
the  Pentateuch.  Eve  repeats  it  without  hesitation  and 
alarm  when  she  gives  thanks  that  she  had  gotten  a  man 
from  the  Lord  [Jehovah]  (Gen.  iv.  1 ).  In  the  days  of  Enos 
it  is  expressly  said  that  then  men  began  to  call  upon  the 
name  of  the  Lord  [Jehovah].  Between  Bethel  and  Hai, 
Abram  is  said  to  have  pitched  his  tent,  to  have  built  an 
altar,  and  to  have  called  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord  [Jeho- 
vah] (Gen.  xii.  8,  conf  Gen.  xiii.  4;  xiv.  22;  xxvii.  16). 
It  is  the  angel  of  the  Lord  [Jehovah]  who  appears  to 
Hagar,  predicts  the  future  fortunes  of  her  son  and  sends  her 
back  to  her  mistress  (Gen.  xvi.  7-14).  It  would  be  tedious 
to  quote  the  passages  all  through  the  patriarchal  history 
which  abundantly  and  conclusively  show  that  the  fathers 

Lect,  v.]  the  names  of  god.  153 

were  familiar  with  this  august  and  glorious  name.  They 
used  it  in  their  solemn  worship  and  in  their  religious  trans- 
actions with  one  another. 

The  Jewish  superstition  seems  to  derive  some  counte- 
nance from  the  memorable  passage,  Ex.  vi. 
tefpTeted/'' '' '  ""  2,  3:  "And  God  spake  unto  Moses  and 
said  unto  him,  I  am  the  Lord  [Jehovah], 
and  I  appeared  unto  Abraham,  unto  Isaac  and  unto  Jacob 
by  the  name  of  God  Almighty,  but  by  my  name  Jehovah  was 
I  not  known  to  them."  The  correct  interpretation  of  this 
passage  will  give  us  the  key  to  the  precise  aspects  of  His 
character  in  which  God  would  be  contemplated  under  the 
name  Jehovah.  The  meaning  is,  not  that  the  name  was 
unknown  to  them,  but  that  there  was  something  in  the  name 
which  they  had  not  yet  been  in  a  condition  to  realize.  It 
contained  a  virtue,  the  efficacy  of  which  they  had  not  pre- 
viously experienced,  but  which  they  were  now  about  to  be 
privileged  to  witness.  To  appreciate  the  force  of  this  ob- 
servation, we  must  distinguish  betwixt  the  absolute  mean- 
ing of  the  word,  and  the  relation  of  that  meaning  to  the 
children  of  Israel.  Absolutely,  and  in  itself,  it  expresses 
the  essential  nature  of  God,  as  the  One,  the  Infinite,  the 
Eternal  and  the  Unconditioned.  It  is  a  synonym  for  all 
those  perfections  which  transcend  the  capacity  of  thought, 
and  mark  God  out  as  the  only  true  Existence  in  the  uni- 
verse— the  ovTCDQ  ov.  It  is  derived  from  the  substantive 
verb  to  he;  it  is,  indeed,  the  third  person  future  of  that 
verb,  and  literally  signifies  he  is  or  will  he.  When  God  ap- 
plies it  to  Himself,  without  relation  to  the  manner  in  which 
a  third  person  would  speak  of  Him,  He  uses  the  first  person, 
and  says,  n^nx,  Eliyeh,  I  am,  or  I  will  he ;  or,  '^IT}^  "^^^^  ^"D^y 
Ehyeh  Asher  Ehyeh,  I  am  ivhat  I  am,  or  I  am  what  I  will  he. 
It  is  equivalent  to  the  "  Who  was,  who  is,  and  who  is  to 
come,"  or  "  shall  he,"  of  the  New  Testament.  It  expresses 
the  absolute  plenitude  of  being,  an  esse  in  which,  to  use  the 
language  of  Cocceius,  there  is  no  deesse.  It  includes  eter- 
nity, self-existence,  immutability,  simplicity,  omnipotence, 

154     ■  THE    NAMES   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

omniscience,  and,  in  short,  the  consummation  of  all  possible 
perfections.  It  means,  in  brief,  the  entire  essence  of  God 
as  He  is  in  Himself 

All  this  the  patriarchs  knew.  But  this  absolute  being 
presents  Himself,  in  this  title,  under  a  special  relation  to 
His  people.  It  implies  that  what  He  is  in  Himself  He 
will  be  to  them,  according  to  the  measure  of  their  capacity. 
From  the  fullness  that  is  in  Him  they  shall  receive  and 
receive  abundantly,  even  grace  for  grace.  His  Jehovahshij) 
is  the  pledge  of  the  absolute  fulfilment  of  all  His  promises. 
He  is  all,  and  therefore  can  become  all,  to  those  who  fear 
Him.  Hence  to  call  Himself  Jehovah  is  to  proclaim  the 
stability  of  His  covenant,  and  to  pawn  His  very  existence 
in  proof  that  He  will  become,  and  that  from  Himself,  the 
satisfying  portion  of  His  saints.  It  was  this  relation,  most 
precious  and  interesting,  of  the  Absolute  to  us,  which  the 
fathers  had  not  yet  fully  apprehended.  They  knew  God  as 
the  Author  of  blessings,  but  the  relation  of  those  blessings. 
to  Himself — the  fact  that  it  was  He  in  the  blessing  that 
constituted  its  value — this  great  idea  had  not  taken  posses- 
sion of  their  souls.  They  had  not  learned  that  God  was  in 
all  that  He  freely  gave,  and  that  it  was  only  as  He  was  in 
it  that  the  gift  was  really  worth  receiving.  Hence  this  is 
precisely  the  name  which  suits  God  as  a  Saviour  and  Re- 
deemer. It  exactly  represents  the  relations  of  the  Son 
when  He  became  flesh,  gave  Himself  a  ransom  for  our  sins, 
and  becomes  to  us,  by  a  mysterious  but  glorious  union. 
Wisdom,  Righteousness,  Sanctification  and  Redemption. 
We  are  in  Him  and  He  in  us.  We  are  because  He  is,  and 
because  He  lives  we  shall  live  also. 

Hence,  from  the  nature  of  the  case  this  name  cannot  be 
analogically   transferred  to   any   creature, 

This  title  not  trans-  .  ^         ^ 

ferabie  to  any  crea-  liowevcr  cmincut  or  cxalted.  JNo  crcature 
*'^'"^'  can  communicate  as  from  Himself      He 

can  only  give  what  he  receives.  His  sufficiency  is  from 
God.  But  the  peculiarity  of  Jehovah  is,  that  He  gives  what 
is  His  own.     He  is  life,  and  therefore  imparts  it.     He  is 

Lect.  v.]  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  155 

holiness,  and  therefore  infuses  it.  He  is  blessedness,  and 
therefore  communicates  it.  He  is  salvation,  and  therefore 
bestows  it.  All  that  he  promises  He  is,  and  therefore 
His  promises  are  Yea  and  Amen  in  Christ  Jesus.  It  is 
this  relation  of  the  Absolute  to  the  creature  that  con- 
stitutes the  peculiar  signijficancy  of  the  name  of  Jehovah. 
And,  therefore,  in  a  different  sense,  we  may  adopt  the  lan- 
guage of  the  Jew,  and  pronounce  this  to  be  a  glorious  and 
an  ineffable  name.  It  is  a  name  at  which  devils  may  well 
tremble,  for  it  reveals  the  unutterable  depths  of  their  pov- 
erty, while  saints  and  angels  tremble  and  adore.  This  God 
is  our  God  for  ever  and  ever.  He  will  be  our  guide  even 
unto  death. 

The  application  of  this  name  to  Jesus  Christ,  which  the 

writers  of  the  New  Testament  do  not  scruple  to  make,  is  a 

pregnant  and  unanswerable  proof  of  His  absolute  divinity. 

Indeed  it  is  only  in  Jesus  Christ  that  the 

Full    import    of   it       p   n    •  j_      i}  iA  •  •  ^  i 

oniyinJesLcinist.  ™11  import  of  this  name  IS  or  can  be  real- 
ized to  us.  Here  and  here  alone  is  Jeho- 
vah, as  Jehovah,  known  by  the  rich  experience  of  the  heart. 
If  this  exposition  be  correct,  there  was  a  peculiar  propriety 
when  God  was  about  to  appear  as  the  Redeemer  of  Israel 
in  His  appearing  under  this  name.  It  revealed  Him  as  an 
object  of  assured  and  steadfast  faith.  There  is  also  a  pro- 
priety in  the  prominence  which  is  given  to  it  when  the 
sacred  writers  leave  the  history  of  the  world  at  large,  and 
confine  their  narratives  for  the  most  part  to  the  fortunes  of 
God's  redeemed  people — His  Church.  There  is  also  an  ex- 
quisite beauty  in  God's  appearing  under  the  name  Jehovah 
when  He  summons  the  guilty  pair  into  His  presence,  and 
comforts  them  in  their  sorrow  under  the  prospect  of  a  great 
Deliverer.  There  is  also  a  peculiar  force  and  emphasis  in 
the  combination  Jehovah-Elohim,  as  condensing  the  entire 
sum  of  the  relations  in  which  the  creature  can  stand  to  God. 
The  third  name,  Jah,  is  generally  re- 
garded as  an  abbreviated  form  of  Jehovah. 
Like  it,  it  is  exclusively  appropriated  to  the  Sujjreme  God. 

156  THE   NAMES   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  V. 

It  is  peculiar  to  poetry,  and  especially  the  poetry  of  praise. 
Its  combination  with  Jehovah  might  seem  incompatible 
with  the  notion  that  it  is  simply  an  abridgment  of  the  same 
word.  Cocceius  derives  it  from  the  word  hn;,  yaah,  in  the 
sense  of  decency  and  Jitness;  and  in  this  sense  it  expresses 
the  harmony,  beauty  and  glory  of  the  Divine  perfections. 
It  is  the  affirmation  that  God  is,  in  all  respects,  like  Him- 
self, and  the  absolute  standard  of  all  that  is  becoming  and 
beautiful  in  the  creature.  According  to  this  exposition,  it 
represents  God  in  that  very  asj)ect  of  His  being  which 
renders  Him  the  object  of  our  praise.  It  is,  in  other  words, 
a  compendious  expression  for  His  unutterable  beauty,  and  is 
fitly  joined  with  hallelu,  as  an  exhortation  to  praise  the  Lord. 
Adonai,  pointed  with  a  quametz,  is  also  a  name  exclusively 
applied  to  God.     It  implies  sovereign  do- 

Adonai.  ^j-  ,  ,       \  ^       ==  _ 

mimon,  and  is  equivalent  to  Lord  and 
Master.  It  implies  a  dominion,  however,  which  is  founded 
in  ownership,  and  is  therefore  peculiarly  appropriate  to  God, 
whether  we  contemplate  Him  as  Creator  or  Redeemer.  We 
are  His,  for  He  made  us,  and  we  belong  pre-eminently  to 
Christ,  for  He  has  bought  us  with  His  own  precious  blood. 
This  is  the  word  which  the  Jews  substitute  for  Jehovah 
wherever  Jehovah  occurs  in  the  sacred  text. 

Shaddai,  sometimes  preceded  by  El,  sometimes  alone,  is  a 

term  by  which  God  is  represented  as  Al- 

Shaddai.  "^  . 

mighty  and  Supreme.     It  is  rendered  by  the 
Septuagint  Tzavroxpdrtop.     It  is  plural  in  its  form,  jjossibly 
to  express  the  intensity  and  fullness  of  the  Divine  power. 
El,  derived  from  S-ik,  aul,  or  from  Vn,  ayl,  properly  sig- 
nifies the  Strong  One.     Used  absolutely  and 
in  the  singular,  it  is  restricted  universally 
to  the  true  God.     It  represents  Him  as  irresistible  in  His 
purposes,  vanquishing  all  obstacles,  subduing  all  enemies, 
and  bringing  His  own  purposes  to  pass. 

Elyon,  from  nS;?,  ahdi,  to  ascend,  is  pro- 

Elyon.  •'        '  .     '        .   1  1      . 

perly  an  adjective  with  a  superlative  sense, 
and  describes  God  as  the  Most  High  ;  or  the  High  and  Lofty 

Lect.  v.]  the  names  of  god.  157 

One  who  inhabiteth  eternity.  It  is  equivalent  to  the  iK/udTOi; 
of  the  Greeks.  It  simply  reveals,  by  an  easy  and  obvious 
figure,  the  absolute  supremacy  of  God. 

These  are  the  names  by  which  the  nature  and  perfections 
of  God  are  compendiously  set  forth  in  the  Old  Testament. 
There  are  many  other  titles  which  designate  special  relations, 
such  as  Judge  and  Lawgiver,  but  these  can  in  no  sense  be 
regarded  as  proper  names. 

In  Greek  we  have  deo^  and  xupio;;,  which,  whatever  may 

Two  Greek  titles     ^^vc  becu  the  Original  ground  of  their  use, 

answering  to  Eiohim     i;iow  dcuotc   tlic    Suprcmc   Jcliovah,   and 

and  Jehovah.  .        •  /,  ,  .  ,  ^  tt-* 

signify  at  the  same  time  the  sum  oi  His 
perfections,  and  of  the  essential  relations  in  which  He  stands 
to  His  creatures.  The  fundamental  notion  in  xupcoz,  Lord, 
is  certainly  that  of  power  and  of  rightful  dominion ;  but,  in 
the  Sejjtuagint  and  New  Testament  it  is  made  synonymous 
with  Jehovah,  and  must  consequently  be  taken  in  the  full 
sense  of  that  glorious  name.  The  fundamental  notion  of 
deoQ,  God,  may  be  that  of  the  Arranger — God  as  the  author 
of  the  beauty  and  order  in  the  Universe  ;  but  the  Septuagint 
has  made  it  equivalent  to  Eiohim,  and  we  are  to  employ  it 
in  no  more  restricted  sense.  Indeed,  it  was  the  only  strictly 
proper  name  among  the  Greeks  for  the  supreme  and  ever- 
lasting God. 

These  Divine  names  served  a  most  important  purpose 
among  the  patriarchs  in  recording,  preserving  and  giving 
unity  to  their  knowledge  of  God.  They  could  hardly  have 
been  dispensed  with.  The  concept  of  an  earthly  object  re- 
quires a  sign  to  hold  its  elements  together ;  much  more  does 
such  a  concept  as  that  of  God.  We  see  the  value  of  names 
in  the  instruction  of  children.  It  is  through  the  explanation 
of  words  that  they  are  slowly  and  progressively  conducted 
to  the  knowledge  of  things.  How  graciously  has  God  con- 
descended, in  the  revelation  of  Himself,  to  our  weakness  and 
our  faculties ! 



WHEN  we  come  to  a  closer  determination  of  the  nature 
and  attributes  of  God,  we  encounter  the  question, 
Whether  there  is  any  sense  in  which  He  can  be  defined  ? 
That  no  human  language  can  represent  Him  as  He  is  in 
Himself  is  perfectly  obvious  from  the  fact,  that  no  human 
thought  can  conceive  Him  in  His  infinite  and  absolute 
essence.  Here,  in  the  words  of  the  venerable  Cyril  of  Jeru- 
salem,^ our  highest  knowledge  is  to  confess  our  ignorance. 
The  very  notion,  moreover,  of  defining  the  infinite,  seems  to 
involve  a  contradiction.  To  define  is  to  limit,  to  determine, 
to  restrict;  but  the  infinite  must  cease  to  be  infinite  in 
coming  under  these  conditions  of  human 

God  indefinable,  ,  .  ..irti 

thought.  As  it  exists  in  itself,  therefore,  it 
is  manifestly  indefinable.  Add  to  this,  that  God  transcends 
all  the  distinctions  of  Logic  which  definition  presupposes. 
He  is  neither  genus  nor  species.  Intensely  and  exclusively 
singular,  He  stands  alone  in  His  being ;  there  are  none  on 
earth  to  be  compared  with  Him,  none  in  heaven  to  be  ranked 
with  Him.  "  To  whom  then  will  we  liken  God,  or  what 
likeness  will  ye  compare  unto  Him  ?"  ^ 

But  the  case  is  different  in  relation  to  our  own  finite  oon- 
butwecanexpressour  ccptious.  Tlicsc,  though  inadequate  to  rep- 
finite  conceptions  of     rcscut  God,  may  themselves  be  adequately 

represented  in  language.  If  we  cannot 
answer  the  question,  what  God  is  in  Himself,  we  can  certainly 
answer  the  question,  what  God  is  as  He  appears  to  us.     We 

1  Catechis.,  vi.  2.  2  Isa.  xl.  18. 


Lect.  VI.]       THE   NATURE   AND    ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.     159 

can  combine  our  knowledge  and  our  faith  in  the  terms  of  a 
description  which,  though  not  conformable  with  the  laws, 
may  answer  all  the  ends  of  a  logical  definition.  Our  ana- 
logical concepts  we  can  refer  to  a  genus,  and  this  genus  we 
can  distinguish  by  the  properties  which  we  know  and  believe 
We  must  conceive  of  ^  be  csscutial  to  God.  Wc  think  the 
God  as  substance  and     Divinc,  as  wc  do  cvcry  otlicr  being,  under 

the  relation  of  substance  and  attribute  ;  the 
substance  being  determined  by  the  attributes,  and  the  at- 
tributes conceived  as  manifestations  of  the  substance.  When 
asked.  Quid  sit  f  we  answer  in  terms  descriptive  of  the  sub- 
stance ;  when  asked,  Qualis  sit  f  we  answer  in  terms  descrip- 
tive of  the  attributes.     In  conformity  with  this  view  various 

definitions  have  been  given  of  God.     Some 

A  definition  of  God        t    n  tt*  xI  i        i     j    i  c     i    ^     • 

considered.  defiuc  Him  as  the  absolutely  perfect  bemg 

— heing  the  genus ;  and  absolutely  perfect, 
the  specific  difiference.  But  the  difficulty  here  is  that  no 
positive  knowledge  is  conveyed.  We  begin  with  a  series  of 
negations,  and  can  never  translate  ourselves  beyond  the 
sphere  of  darkness  in  which  we  have  placed  ourselves.  We 
confound  a  faith  in  an  unknown  reality  with  a  positive  de- 
termination of  human  thought.  To  this  and  all  such  defi- 
nitions pretending  to  posit  the  essence  of  the  absolute,  the 
following  remarks  of  Van  Mastricht^  are  applicable :  "  This 
is  no  more  a  legitimate  definition  of  God  than  to  say  of  man, 
He  is  the  most  perfect  sublunary  being,  would  be  a  legitimate 
definition  of  him.  And  yet  who  would  accept  such  a  defini- 
tion, or  admit  it  as  any  real  explication  of  the  human  essence? 
No  more  is  that  a  genuine  definition  of  God  which  simply 
represents  Him  as  the  absolutely  perfect  being.  For  neither 
the  genus  heing,  to  which  He  is  assigned,  nor  the  difference, 
absolutely  perfect,  contains  any  real  explication  of  His  essence. 
Not  being,  for  that  rather  proj)Oses  than  explains  it ;  affirms 
that  it  is,  rather  than  what  it  is.  Not  absolutely  perfect,  be- 
cause that  seems  to  express  a  relation  or  comparison,  by 
which  the  essence  of  God  surpasses  the  essence  of  every  other 
^  Quoted  in  De  Moor,  cap.  iv.,  §  11. 

160     THE   NATURE   AND   ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.      [Lect.  VL 

thing.  Everything  whatever,  as  long  as  it  is,  is  a  something 
perfect.  Hence,  by  j^^rfection  simjily,  the  essence  of  God 
cannot  be  accurately  discriminated  from  the  essence  of  any 
other  thing.  The  addition  of  the  qualifying  epithet  abso- 
lutely, only  institutes  a  comparison,  but  determines  nothing 
as  to  the  nature  of  the  things  compared." 

Perrone,^  the  distinguished  professor  of  theology  in  the 

Jesuit  College  at  Rome,  makes  the  essence  of  God  to  consist 

in  His  independence  and  self-existence.     According  to  him, 

an  essence  should  always  fulfil  four  condi- 

A  second   definition        ,•  -iTii         ill  j1'  •,•• 

considered.  tious  :    1.  It  sliould   DC  Something  lutrmsic 

to  the  thing;  2.  It  should  distinguish  it 
from  every  other  thing ;  3.  It  should  be  first  in  the  order 
of  thought  when  we  undertake  to  conceive  the  thing ;  and, 
4.  It  should  be  construed  as  the  fons  et  origo  of  all  its  per- 
fections. These  conditions  in  relation  to  God,  he  maintains, 
are  realized  in  the  notion  of  self-existence.  This,  then,  is 
the  Divine  essence.  But  what  do  we  know  of  self-existence 
apart  from  the  denial  of  a  cause  ?  What  positive  concept  have 
we  from  which  we  can  deduce  any  positive  conclusion  what- 
ever ?  Just  give  to  a  man  what  he  calls  the  notion  of  self- 
existence  and  nothing  else — the  mere  negation  of  a  cause — 
and  what  is  he  likely  to  achieve  in  the  way  of  revealing  the 
only  true  God  of  our  worship  ?  The  negative  can  give  no- 
thing but  the  negative.  Remove  the  manifestations  which 
God  has  made  of  Himself  in  the  works  of  creation  and 
providence — remove  the  Scriptures,  and  leave  us  nothing 
but  the  naked  concept  of  necessary  being — and  it  seems  to 
me  intuitively  obvious  that  it  would  be  as  barren  of  results 
as  the  baldest  identical  proi^osition.  As  regulative,  in  the 
sphere  of  positive  thought,  it  is  immensely  important.  But 
as  a  fons  et  origo  of  perfections,  it  is  as  sterile  as  the  sands 
of  Arabia. 

"VYe  dismiss,  therefore,  as  frivolous  all  efforts  to  represent 
the  essence  of  God,  as  thought,  in  terms  of  the  absolute.    If 
we  ascribe  to  Him  any  attributes  at  all,  we  are  constrained 
^  Prselect.  TheoL,  Pt.  I.,  c.  iii.,  prop.  iii. 

Lect.  VI.]      THE   NATURE   AND   ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.      161 

by  the  constitution  of  our  nature  to  think  Him  as  a  sub- 
stance or  subject  in  which  these  attributes  inhere.  That 
substance  must  be  determined  by  the  nature  of  the  attributes 
themselves.  And  as  we  know  of  but  two  substances,  mind 
and  matter,  we  are  constrained  to  represent  God  under  the 
analogy  of  one  or  the  other,  according  as  the  manifestations 
in  His  works  and  the  revelation  of  His  vford  shall  decide. 
He  is  either  material  or  spiritual.     Between  these,  so  far  as 

known  to  us,  there  is  no  middle ;  and  which 
to  be  asptru^'""^   ^^     ^^  thcsc  most  fitly  represents  the  nature  of 

God  is  hardly  susceptible  of  doubt. 
The  best  definition,  in  a  brief  compass,  is  that  contained 
in  the  Shorter  Catechism  of  the  Westminster  Assembly : 

God  is  a  Spirit,  infinite,  eternal  and  un- 

The  best  definition.  .         tt-       i     •  •     7 

changeable  m  Uis  being,  wisdom,  power, 
holiness,  justice,  goodness  and  truth.  Here  the  genus  to 
which  the  substance  of  God  is  referred  is  spirit,  in  strict 
accordance  with  the  Scriptures  and  the  manifestations  of 
His  nature  which  are  made  by  His  works ;  the  difference, 
those  qualities  which  belong  to  spirit  in  its  full  and  normal 
development,  heightened  beyond  all  bounds  of  conception 
by  terms  which  are  borrowed  from  God  as  an  object  of 
faith.  In  this  definition  there  is  an  admirable  combination 
of  what  we  know  with  what  we  are  only  able  to  believe, 
and  God  is  represented  in  language  precisely  as  He  appears 

in  thought.     There  is  but  one  defect.     It 

But  it  is  defective. 

seems  to  me  that  the  peculiar  personality 
of  God  should  have  been  distinctly  and  prominently  an- 
nounced. He  is  not  only  Spirit,  but  Personal  Spirit,  and 
not  Personal  barely,  but  Tri-persoual — the  Father,  the  Son 
and  the  Holy  Ghost.  To  describe  Him  as  a  Spirit  subsist- 
ing in  three  Persons,  and  then  as  infinite,  eternal  and  un- 
changeable in  all  the  perfections  which  are  proper  to  Spirit, 
is  to  make  as  near  an  approximation  to  an  accurate  defini- 
tion as  it  is  possible  for  our  faculties  to  compass,^  Spirit 
expresses  the  nature  and  answers  the  question,  Quid  sit? 

1  Cf.  De  Moor,  c.  iv.,  §  12. 
Vol.  L— 11 

162     THE   NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES   OF    GOD.      [Lkct.  VI. 

The  properties  express  the  perfections  and  answer  the  ques- 
tion, Quails  sit  f     One  can  only  be  thought 
Answer  to  the  two     ^^  ^^^  correlative  of  the  other.'    We  know 


the  nature,  as  a  2")ermanent,  unchanging 
subject,  only  through  the  attributes  by  which  it  is  revealed, 
and  know  it  only  as  their  ground  and  centre  of  unity. 

The  notion  of  attributes  arises  from  the  nature  of  the 
effects  which  we  are  constrained  to  ascribe  to  the  agency  of 
God.     We  know  what  He  is  by  seeing  what  He  does.     We 

remark   the   traces   of    order   and    design 

How  we  get  our  no-  o 

tions  of  God's  attri-  whicli  are  everywhere  conspicuous  around 
us,  and  we  immediately  feel  that  the  Au- 
thor of  the  universe  must  be  possessed  of  knowledge  and 
wisdom.  We  listen  to  the  teachings  of  our  own  consciences, 
and  cannot  but  collect  that  He  who  compels  us  to  distinguish 
in  our  own  souls  betwixt  the  right  and  the  wrong  is  Himself 
a  being  of  rectitude.  The  products  of  His  will,  in  the 
mighty  works  of  His  hands  which  are  everywhere  dis- 
played to  view,  are  in  the  same  way  confessions  of  His 
power.  Attributes,  therefore,  may  be  defined  as  the  deter- 
minations of  the  Divine  Being  to  human  thought,  suggested 
by  the  relations  in  which  He  stands  to  His  works.  They 
are  the  modes  under  which  we  conceive  Him. 

All  the  attributes  of  God  are  essential ;  that  is,  they  are 

nothing  separate   and  distinct  from  God, 

They  are  not  sepa-     ^      (j   ^  Himsclf  manifested  in  such  and 

rable  froni  His  essence.       -^  >-'  ^    ^  ^ 

such  forms.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the 
faculties  of  the  human  soul ;  they  are  not  something  distinct 
from  the  soul,  and  added  to  it  as  a  complement  to  its  being, 
but  are  only  the  soul  itself  existing  in  such  and  such  modes 
of  consciousness.  We  can  logically  discriminate  betwixt 
essence  and  properties ;  and  in  every  other  being  there  are 
properties  which  may  be  conceived  as  detached  from  the 
essence,  but  in  the  case  of  God  the  essence  and  the  proper- 
ties completely  coincide.  He  has  no  separable  accidents. 
All  that  He  is.  He  is  essentially.  The  importance  of  this 
principle  has  been  illustrated  in  the  controversy  with  the 

Lect.  VI.]       THE    NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.      163 

Socinians,  who  were  willing  to  acknowledge  the  Holy  Ghost 
as  an  attribute  of  God,  but  were  not  willing  to  acknowledge 
Him  as  God. 

It  is  commonly  maintained  by  divines  not  only  that  the 
attributes  are  not  distinct  from  the  essence, 

Their  being  all  rad-       ^^^    ^j^^^    ^j^         ^^,^    ^^^^    ^^^^jj      distiuct    from 
ically  one,  ''  'i 

one  another.  They  are  all  radically  one. 
Wisdom,  goodness,  justice,  power,  anger,  pity,  love, — all 
these,  as  they  exist  in  God,  are  really  one  and  the  same 
mode  of  consciousness.  This  conclusion  is  supposed  to  be 
necessitated  by  the  doctrine  of  the  simplicity  of  God.  He 
is  held  to  be  absolved  from  every  species  of  composition, 
physical,  logical  and  metaphysical.  He  is  not  a  whole 
made  up  of  parts.  He  admits  of  no  distinctions  of  genus 
and  species,  or  of  substance  and  quality.  He  is  nakedly 
and  absolutely  one.     There  are  and  can  be  no  differences  or 

distinctions  in  His  nature.  It  is  said,  ac- 
Sioi^u'LT"'^'     cordingly,  that  if  weascribe  to  Him  attri- 

butes  really  distinct  from  each  other,  each 
would  be  a  different  thing,  and  the  unity  of  God,  instead 
of  being  one,  simple  and  indivisible,  would  be  an  aggregate 
or  sum  of  different  qualities.  I  can  understand  how  the 
simplicity  and  unity  of  God  absolve  Him  from  physical  and 
loo:ical  distinctions.  I  can  understand  that  He  is  not  com- 
posed  of  parts,  like  body,  nor  capable  of  being  classed  under 
genera  and  species,  but  I  cannot  understand  why  the  meta- 
physical distinction  of  substance  and  quality  is  at  all  incon- 
„   ,       .,,.,,       sistent  with   the   most   perfect   simplicity. 

Reply  to  this  state-  J-  i  ./ 

ment  from  the  doc-     If  all  distinctious  of  cvery  kind  are  to  be 

trine  of  the  Trinity,  i      i     i    /•  .1       /^     Jl         j     r  •      -j. 

excluded  from  the  Godhead,  how  is  it  pos- 
sible to  reconcile  the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity  with  the  abso- 
lute unity  of  the  Divine  nature?  The  very  core  of  the 
doctrine  is  that  there  are  distinctions,  and  distinctions  in 
the  essence  of  the  Godhead  without  which  there  would  and 
could  be  no  God  at  all.  The  truth  is,  absolute  simplicity  is 
to  us  wholly  unintelligible ;  it  is  only  the  negation  of  every 
form  of  composition.     But  when  every  form  of  composition 

164     THE   NATURE    AND   ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.      [Lect.  VI. 

is  removed,  the  positive  thing  that  remains  transcends  our 
capacity  of  thought.  We  know  not  what  it  is,  and  it  is 
idle  to  undertake  to  reason  from  it  as  if  it  were  a  positive 
element  of  knowledge. 

To  us  the  law  of  substance  and  quality  is  an  intrinsic 
condition  of  existence,  independently  of  which  we  are  un- 
able to  think  any  object  whatever ;  and  as  the  law  of  human 
knowledge  is  that  of  plurality  and  diifer- 
our  owu^iinds  '^^  °  eucc,  qualities  must  be  presented  as  distinct 
manifestations  of  their  substance,  or  they 
convey  nothing  to  the  mind.  Absolute  identity  to  beings 
constituted  as  we  are  would  be  as  bootless  as  absolute  non- 
entity. Tf  the  simplicity  of  the  human  soul  is  not  disturbed 
or  impaired  by  distinct  modes  of  consciousness,  if  it  con- 
tinues permanently  one  in  the  midst  of  the  many,  I  see  no 
heresy  in  supposing  that  something  analogous  may  obtain  in 
the  infinite  being  of  God,  and  that  He  reconciles  variety 
with  unity,  distinctions  with  simplicity,  in  a  manner  which 
does  not  detract  from  His  absolute  perfection. 

How  the  one  in  God  appears  as  the  many  to  us  is  ex- 
plained by  the  distinction  betwixt  virtual  or  eminent  and 
„^    ^. ,.    ,        .    real  difference.      This  distinction  plays  so 

The    distinction    of  r      J 

eminent  and  real  dif-     important  a   part   in   theological   treatises 
'  that  I  shall  take  this  opportunity  to  ex- 

plain it.  Distinction  or  difference  is  the  negation  of  iden- 
tity. Things  can  differ  either  in  themselves  or  in  our  modes 
of  conceiving  them.  When  they  differ  in  themselves,  the 
difference  is  said  to  be  real.  When  the  difference  is  only  in 
our  modes  of  conceiving,  it  is  said  to  be  virtual  or  eminent. 
The  reason  of  the  term  is  this :  the  thing,  though  one  and 
simple  in  itself,  in  the  manifold  effects  which  it  produces 
and  the  manifold  relations  in  which  it  is  thought,  is  con- 
strued as  equivalent  to  them  all,  and  as  containing  them  in 
a  higher  form  of  perfection  than  that  in  which  they  are  real- 
ized. A  grain  of  Avheat,  for  example,  is  one  and  simple 
in  itself,  but  it  may  be  conceived  in  various  aspects  and  rela- 
tions.    It  may  be  thought  simply  as  a  body,  composed  of 

Lect,  VI.]      THE   NATURE   AND   ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.      165 

parts ;  it  may  be  thought  as  an  article  of  food ;  it  may  be 
thought  merely  as  a  seed.  Here  are  three  modes  of  con- 
ceiving the  same  thing,  which  yet  abides  in  its  unity.  So 
God,  absolutely  simple  in  Himself,  contains  in  Himself  what 
is  equivalent  to  all  the  effects  He  has  produced.  He  is 
potentially  all  that  He  does.  That  is  eminently  in  Him — 
that  is,  exists  in  the  form  of  a  higher  perfection  in  Him — 
which  is  realized  in  the  outward  universe.^ 

It  is  maintained,  accordingly,  that  while  in  the  intrinsic 

relation  of  existence  there  is  no  real  differ- 
tfon^'Iud*"  ^^^^  '^"''^      6^1^^  among  the  attributes  of  God,  all  being 

equally  God  Himself,  in  the  extrinsic  rela- 
tions of  working  and  manifestation  differences  emerge,  but 
the  differences  are  in  the  effects  and  not  in  the  cause.  As 
we  conceive  the  cause,  however,  in  relation  to  the  effects,  we 

1  ["  Distinction  or  difference  is  the  negation  of  identity.  Things  are  dis- 
tinguished v/hich  are  not  the  same.  A  thing  can  be  different  from  another, 
either  in  itself  or  in  our  conception.  When  diiferent  in  itself,  the  distinction 
is  called  real ;  when  only  in  our  conception,  it  is  called  rational  or  mental. 

"  Things  differ  in  themselves,  either  because  they  are  separate,  as  Peter 
and  Paul ;  or  separable,  as  soul  or  body ;  or  relatively  opposed,  as  father 
and  son.  This  species  of  distinction  is  called  realis  major.  Things  may 
differ  solely  as  the  mode  differs  from  the  thing  modified,  as  figure  and 
body,  cogitation  and  mind.  This  distinction  is  called  modal,  or  distinctio 
realis  minor.  To  these  John  Duns  Scotus  added  a  third — namely,  between 
two  or  more  properties  of  the  same  thing,  when  they  diflfer  only  in  their 
formal  reason,  as  in  man,  animality  and  rationality ;  in  God,  essence  and 
attributes ;  and  among  the  attributes  themselves,  as  justice  and  mercy  are 
formally  distinguished.  This  was  called  formal  difference  or  distinctio 
realis  minima. 

"  Mental  distinction  is  of  two  kinds — one  purely  arbitrary,  as  when  we 
distinguish  between  Peter  and  Cephas,  there  being  no  foundation  for  the 
distinction  in  the  thing  itself,  it  is  called  distinctio  rationis  ratiocinanfis ; 
the  other  is  when  there  is  a  foundation  in  the  thing,  which  though  one  and 
absolutely  simple  in  itself,"  is  yet  equivalent  to  many  different  things,  and 
on  account  of  the  variety  of  its  effects  causes  us  to  consider  it  in  different 
aspects  and  relations,  as  a  grain  may  be  seed,  food  or  body.  So  God,  ab- 
solutely simple  in  Himself,  produces  different  effects,  and  therefore  con- 
tains in  Himself  what  is  equivalent  to  these  effects,  or  rather  superior  to 
them — contains  it  eminently.  The  same  thing  in  Him  makes  differences 
among  the  creatures.  This  is  the  distinctio  rationis  ratiocinatce,  or  virtual 
difference." — Perrone,  Pt.  II.,  c.  i.] 

166      THE    NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.      [Lect.  VI. 

give  it  a  different  determination  according  to  the  nature  of 
the  effect.  Knowledge  and  power,  for  examj)le,  in  God  are 
one  and  the  same,  but  knowledge  and  power  terminate  in 
different  effects,  and  the  difference  of  determination  given 
by  these  effects  involves  a  corresponding  difference  in  human 
conception.  This  difference,  depending  upon  the  difference 
of  effect,  and  upon  a  corresponding  difference  in  our  mode 
of  conceiving,  is  called  a  virtual  or  eminent  difference. 

If  the  extrinsic  relations  under  which  we  think  do  not 
coincide  with  the  intrinsic  relations  under  which  the  attri- 
butes of  God  exist,  it  would  seem  that  our  knowledge  is 
deceitful  and  illusive.  To  this  it  is  replied,  that  the  know- 
ledge is  real  as  far  as  it  goes.  It  fails  to  tell  us  what  God 
is  in  Himself;  in  that  aspect  he  is  wholly  incomprehensible ; 
but  it  does  unfold  to  us  His  relations  to  the  creature.  These 
relations  are  real ;  and  though  they  seem  to  reveal  a  mani- 
fold perfection  in  God,  they  are  not  delusive,  so  long  as  they 
reveal  what  is  still  higher  and  better  than  anything  which 
can  be  conceived  as  many.  Properly  interpreted,  the  mani- 
^  ,  ,       .  ,   ^        fold  in  nature  only  teaches  that  there   is 

God  shown  to  be  One,  ^         •'^ 

without  any  divers-  that  iu  God  wliicli  is  Competent  to  produce 
'*^'  it.     He  is  eminently,  in  the  resources  of 

His  being,  all  that  the  universe  contains.  As  one,  He  gives 
rise  to  diversity,  but  the  diversity  is  not  in  Him. 

All  this  is  ingenious,  and  to  some  extent  intelligible,  but 

is  very  far  from  being  a  satisfactory  account 

Ingenious,  but  not     ^  ^    distiuctiou  which  wc  are  coustraiued 


to  make  in  the  attributes  of  God.  No  jug- 
gling with  scholastic  technicalities  can  ever  confound  or  fuse 
into  one  modes  of  consciousness  so  really  distinct  as  those 
of  intelligence  and  will.  It  may  be  that  in  the  absolute 
they  are  reduced  to  unity,  but  it  is  perfectly  certain  that  we 
cannot  see  how  they  are  virtually  the  same.  It  may  be  that 
pity  and  justice  completely  coincide  as  they  exist  in  God, 
but  it  is  impossible  for  us  to  comprehend  how  the  one  is 
eminently  the  other.  The  true  view  is,  that  this  whole 
subject  transcends  the  sphere  of  our  faculties.     We  can  only 

Lect.  VL]       THE    NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.      167 

obey  the  law  of  our  nature ;  and  the  very  determinations 
which  lead  us  to  ascribe  any  attributes  to  God  lead  us,  at 
the  same  time,  to  distinguish  them.  The  differences  may 
be  only  apparent,  but  to  us  they  must  be  construed  as  real 
until  the  delusion  is  detected.  That,  however,  never  can 
be  done  by  abstract  speculations  on  simplicity. 

Seeing  that  we  can  know  God  only  under  the  relation  of 
distinct  properties  and  attributes,  it  is  im- 

Classification  of  at-  j.       j.  j.  i       j_  i  •  l 

tributes  necessary.  portaut  to  adopt  somc  comprchensivc  mode 
of  classifying  and  arranging  these  mani- 
festations of  the  Divine  Being.  In  some  treatises  the 
method  is  simply  synthetic — adding  attribute  to  attribute 
as  each  is  unfolded  in  the  process  of  the  argument.  For 
instance,  they  set  out  with  Being;  the  temporal  and  the 
contingent  give  the  eternal  and  the  necessary.  Here  are 
two  predicates  to  be  applied  to  the  first  being.  Eternity 
implies  immutability  and  infinity.  Here  are  two  other 
predicates.  Through  the  traces  of  order  and  design  the 
predicates  of  intelligence  and  goodness  are  collected ;  and 
so  on  through  the  whole  list  of  the  known  attributes  of  God. 
Here  there  is  no  classification.  There  is  simply  a  process  of 
synthesis  by  means  of  a  previous  analysis.  In  this  way  the 
attributes  are  generally  treated  in  works  on  Natural  Theology. 
Among  the  schemes  of  distribution  proposed  by  theolo- 
gians the  following  divisions  may  be  signalized:  1.  Into 
Absolute  and  Relative.     The  Absolute  em- 

Seven  schemes  of  dis-       i  .  i  f     ,•  f    r^     ^  ,        c 

tribution  signalized.  "^races  the  pcrfcctions  of  God  as  out  of 
relation  to  the  creature ;  the  Relative,  the 
same  perfections  as  in  relation  to  the  creature.  "  Thus,"  to 
use  the  illustration  of  De  Moor,  appropriated  by  Dr.  Breck- 
inridge,^ "  goodness  would  be  considered  an  absolute  attri- 
bute, while  mercy  would  be  considered  a  relative  one,  as 
being  founded  in  goodness,  but  having  a  special  relation  to 
the  creature ;  and  in  like  manner  immensity  would  be  con- 
sidered an  absolute,  and  omnipresence  a  relative,  attribute ; 
holiness  an  absolute,  and  punitive  justice  a  relative,  attribute ; 
'  Object.  Theol.,  Book  iii.,  c.  xvii.     Cf.  De  Moor,  c.  iv.  I  19. 

168     THE   NATURE   AND   ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.      [Lect.  VI, 

and  so  of  the  rest."  2.  Into  Positive  and  Negative.  The 
Positive  are  those  which  can  be  affirmatively  predicated  of 
God — such  as  wisdom,  goodness,  justice ;  the  Negative  are 
those  which  can  only  be  expressed  by  negations — such  as 
infinity,  eternity,  immensity.  3.  Into  Quiescent  and  Active 
or  Operative.  The  Quiescent  coincide  with  what  have  been 
called  the  immanent  perfections  of  God;  the  Operative,  Avith 
the  transient.  4.  Into  Primitive  and  Derivative — those 
from  which  others  are  derived,  and  those  so  derived.  5. 
Into  JNIetaphysical,  Physical,  or  Natural  —  for  all  these 
terms  have  been  used  to  express  the  same  class — and  INIoral, 
embracing  those  connected  with  intelligence  and  will.  The 
first  set  of  terms  includes  all  the  attributes  of  God  consid- 
ered simply  as  the  infinite  and  absolute ;  the  second,  those 
which  belong  to  Him  as  a  Personal  Spirit.  The  most  com- 
mon distribution  is — 6.  Into  Communicable  and  Incommu- 
nicable.^ The  Communicable  refers  to  those  of  which  some 
analogy  can  be  found  in  the  perfections  of  the  creature ;  the 
Incommunicable,  to  those  which  admit  of  no  such  analogy. 
7.  Into  Internal  and  External ;  "  which  division,"  says  De 
Moor,^  "  is  accommodated  to  the  philosophy  of  Des  Cartes, 
according  to  which  the  whole  nature  of  God  is  resolved  into 
mere  cogitation,  to  the  exclusion  of  everything  else  which, 
except  thought,  can  be  conceived.  From  this  jorinciple  are 
deduced  only  two  internal  attributes  of  God — Intellect  and 
Will ;  because  there  are  only  two  general  modes  of  thought 
— ^perception  or  the  operation  of  intellect,  and  volition  or 
the  operation  of  will.  Hence  all  the  other  attributes  of 
God  are  considered  merely  as  external  denominations." 
These  distinctions,  though  variously  expressed,  are  nearly 
All  these  pervaded  ^11  fundamentally  the  same.  They  are  per- 
i>y  a  common  vein  of  yadcd  by  a  commott  veiu  of  thought — a 
fact  which  cannot  be  explained  without 
admitting  that  they  have  a  real  foundation  in  the  nature  of 
our  knowledge  of  God.     And  yet  the  common  idea  which 

^  Howe,  Principles,  etc.,  Part  i.,  Lect.  17.     Turrett.  Loc.  iii.,  Qu.  6, 
2  Chap,  iv.,  ^  19. 

Lect.  VI.]       THE    NATURE   AND    ATTRIBUTES   OF    GOD.      169 

pervades  them  has  not  been  distinctly  and  consciously  seized ; 
otherwise  the  attributes  would  have  been  determined  by 
it,  and  not  by  the  aspects  in  which  they  happen  to  be 
contemplated.  There  is  evidently  this  fundamental  distinc- 
tion between  one  of  these  classes  and  the  other — that,  in 
the  one  case,  what  are  called  attributes  or  properties  are  not 
specific  determinations,  but  characteristics  of  every  attri- 
bute and  property  manifested  in  the  relation  of  God  to  His 
works.  They  are  not  a  mode  of  consciousness  or  being, 
co-ordinate  with  other  modes  of  consciousness  or  being. 
They  are  not  related  as  memory  and  imagination  in  the 
human  soul,  but  rather  as  consciousness — the  universal  con- 
dition of  intelligence — to  the  whole  soul.  They  are  not  ex- 
pressive of  particular  forms  of  Divine  agency,  but  are  rather 
pervading  conditions — if  we  may  indulge  the  solecism — 
of  the  Divine  existence.  God  is  not  wise  and  infinite,  but 
He  is  infinite  in  His  wisdom  as  well  as  in  His  being. 
"What  He  is  determinately  to  human  thought,  that  He  is 
infinitely,  eternally  and  unchangeably.  This  is  the  dis- 
tinction w^liich  all  these  divisions  tacitly  recognize.  It  is 
the  absolute  of  faith  transferred  to  the  manifested  and 
known.  It  is  God  as  believed  lying  at  the  basis  of  all  that 
is  revealed,  and  never  for  a  moment  to  be  divorced  from  it. 
The  one  set  of  properties  might  therefore  be  callc«i  modes 
of  being — the  other,  properties  of  nature  or  determinative 
properties.     The  one  set  may  be  referred  to  the  fundamental 

notion  of  necessary  existence,  the  other  to 
disunctior"'"""*"     the  fundamental  notion  of  a  Personal  Spirit. 

Around  these  two  central  points  we  may 
collect  and  arrange  all  that  we  can  know  of  God.  The  first 
notion  gives  Eternity,  Immensity,  Independence,  Immuta- 
bility ;  the  second  gives  Intelligence  and  Will,  and  all  those 
perfections  which  are  included  in  the  idea  of  a  perfect  Spirit. 
Unity  and  Simplicity  are  included  in  both. 

Communicable  and  incommunicable  are  terms  very  badly 
chosen  to  express  the  ideas  which  they  were  intended  to 
convey.     They  seem  to  imply  that  the  perfection  in  man  is 

170     THE    NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.      [Lect.  VI. 

an  emanation  from  the  corresponding  perfection  of  God,  or 
at  least  that  the  two  are  formally  the  same.  But  there  is 
really  nothing  that  is  strictly  common  betwixt  them  but  the 
word.  They  are  analogous,  but  not  alike.  The  relations 
are  the  same,  but  the  things  themselves  differ  as  widely  as 
the  infinite  and  finite. 

Dr.  Hodge,  in  the  "  Outlines  of  Theology,"  ^  published 
by  his  son,  has  suggested  a  classification 

Classifications      of  /•     .i  ta*     •  jj*ii  ^  •   ^  •       '  ^ 

jjpj^g  ol   the   JJivme  attributes  wdiich  coincides 

almost  precisely  with  that  which  I  have 
proposed.  He  makes  four  classes — "1.  Those  attributes 
which  equally  qualify  all  the  rest:  Infinitude,  that  which 
has  no  bounds ;  Absoluteness,  that  which  is  determined 
either  in  its  being  or  modes  of  being  or  action  by  nothing 
whatsoever   without    itself.      This    includes    immutability. 

2.  Natural  attributes ;  God  is  an  infinite  Spirit,  self -existent, 
eternal,    immense,    simple,  free    of  will,    inteUigent,  pjoioerful. 

3.  Moral  attributes.  God  is  a  Spirit  infinitely  riyhteous, 
good,  true  and  faithful.  4.  The  consummate  glory  of  all 
the  Divine  perfections  in  union — the  beauty  of  holiness." 

Dr.  Breckinridge,  in  his  "  Objective  Theology,"  proposes 
a  classification  much  more  complicated  and 

and  of  Breckinridge.  .  i     •  i 

elaborate.  It  is  developed  in  the  seven- 
teenth chapter  of  the  work.  A  general  view  of  it  is  con- 
tained in  the  summary  of  the  closing  section  :  "  According 
to  this  method  we  are  enabled  to  contemplate  God  succes- 
sively— 1.  As  He  is  an  infinite  Being,  and  endowed  Avitli 
the  proper  perfections  thereof.  2.  As  He  is  an  infinite 
Spirit,  and  endowed  with  the  proper  perfections  thereof. 
3.  As  being  both,  and  endowed  with  all  perfections  that 
belong  to  both,  considered  with  reference  to  the  eternal  and 
ineifaceable  distinction  between  true  and  false,  which  is  the 
fundamental  distinction  with  which  our  own  rational  facul- 
ties are  conversant.  4.  As  being  endowed  with  all  perfec- 
tions with  reference  to  the  eternal  and  ineffaceable  distinc- 
tion   between   good    and    evil,  which    is   the   fundamental 

1  Page  104. 

Lect.  YL]       THE   NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.      171 

distinction  with  which  our  moral  faculties  are  conversant. 
5.  As  being  endowed  with  all  perfections  which  underlie, 
which  embrace  or  which  result  from  the  union  of  all  the 
preceding  perfections.  And  so  the  classes  of  his  perfections 
would  necessarily  be — 1 .  Those  called  Primary  Attributes — 
that  is,  such  as  belong  to  an  infinite  and  self-existent  Being, 
simply  considered.  2.  Essential  Attributes — that  is,  those 
belonging  to  such  a  Being  considered  essentially  as  an  infi- 
nite Spirit.  3.  Natural  Attributes — that  is,  such  as  apper- 
tain to  an  infinite  Spirit,  considered  naturally,  rather  than 
morally  or  essentially.  4,  Moral  Attributes — that  is,  such 
as  appertain  to  such  a  Being,  considered  morally,  rather 
than  naturally  or  essentially.  5.  Consummate  Attributes — 
that  is,  such  as  appertain  to  such  a  Being  considered  com- 
pletely and  absolutely." 

It  is  obvious,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  terms  in  which 
this  classification  is  expressed  are  unhappily  chosen.  "When 
we  read  of  Primary  Attributes,  we  expect  to  meet  as  a  matter 
of  course  with  others  that  are  Secondary.  But  in  this  case 
the  protasis  has  no  apodosis.  Fundamental  would  have  been 
a  better  word  than  Primary.  Then  Essential  and  Natural 
are  so  nearly  synonymous  that  it  can  only  breed  confusion 
to  use  them  in  contrast.  Besides,  all  attributes  of  God  are 
equally  essential.  There  are  none,  therefore,  entitled,  by 
way  of  j)re-eminence,  to  usurp  this  distinction. 

In  the  next  place,  the  classification  is  confused.  God  as 
Spirit  is  distinguished  from  God  as  intelligent.  The  natural 
attributes  are  made  pendants  of  the  essential,  as  if  there  were 
a  faculty  of  knowledge  in  God  apart  from  His  knowledge 
itself.  Abating  the  perplexity  and  confusion  both  of  thought 
and  language,  the  classification  is  substantially  the  same  as 
that  of  Dr.  Hodge.  The  Primary  attributes  are  those  which 
I  have  described  as  Modal,  or  all-pervading,  and  Dr.  Hodge 
has  spoken  of  as  qualifying  all  the  rest.  The  Essential  and 
Natural  are  those  which  Dr.  Hodge  has  called  simply  Nat- 
ural— avoiding  the  implication  that  there  is  any  distinction 
between  faculty  and  acts  in  the  Divine  understanding.     The 

172     THE    NATURE    AND    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.      [Lect.  VI. 

JNIoral  arc  the  same  in  both  divisions.     The  Consummate 

do  not  exactly  coincide,  but  they  differ  only  in   extension. 

The   simplest   division   is   that   ^^•hich    is 

The  Bimplost  divisiou.  i     i  •        i  i      . 

grounded  in  the  obvious  distinction  between 
those  perfections  which  j^ervade  the  whole  being  and  every 
other  perfection  of  God,  and  those  which  are  special  and  de- 
terminative. Here  the  boundaries  are  clear  and  distinct. 
The  determinative  attributes  of  God  may  be  subdivided  into 
Intellectual  and  Moral — the  two  great  outlines  which  include 
all  the  excellence  of  a  personal  Spirit.  The  Consummate 
attributes  seem  to  me  to  be  a  needless  distinction. 

In  the  development  of  this  subject  the  plan  which  I  shall 
pursue  will  be  first,  to  treat  of  the  nature  of  God  as  Spiritual 
and  Personal ;  and  then  to  unfold  the  attributes  in  the  order 
in  which  they  have  here  been  classed. 



THE  spirituality  of  God  is  the  foundation  of  all  religious 
worship.     It  is  only  as  a  spirit  that  He  is  possessed  of 
those  attributes  of  intelligence,   goodness, 

This  truth,  the  foun-        .,•  it  i,,i  i-i 

dation  of  the  worship,  justice,  powcr,  holuiess  and  truth  which 
make  Him  the  object  of  our  prayers,  our 
praises,  our  confidence  and  hopes.  It  is  only  as  a  spirit  that 
He  is  a  person,  and,  consequently,  only  as  a  spirit  that  He 
can  enter  into  communion  with  us  and  communicate  to  us 
the  tokens  of  His  favour  and  His  love.  A  blind  force,  a 
stern  and  irresistible  necessity,  might  be  an  object  of  terror 
and  of  dread,  but  it  would  be  absurd  to  pray  to  it,  to  trust 
in  it,  or  to  love  it.  Our  Saviour,  in  His  interview  with  the 
woman  of  Samaria,  makes  the  spirituality  of  God  determine 
the  nature  and  the  kind  of  worship  which  we  are  to  render 
to  the  Father  of  our  spirits.  But  the  argument  goes  much 
farther — it  determines  the  ground  of  the  possibility  of  wor- 
ship. There  could  be  no  true  worshippers  at  all,  for  there 
would  be  nothing  to  which  worshij)  could  be  consi.stently 
adapted,  if  God  were  not  spirit. 

More  than  this :  the  spirituality  of  God  is  not  only  the 
foundation  of  all  religious  worship — it  is 
butes'^of  God!  '^''""  ^^^  foundation  of  all  the  Divine  attributes. 
Without  spirit  there  could  be  no  life; 
without  life,  no  activity  ;  without  activity,  no  causal  agency. 
Infinity,  immensity,  eternity,  simplicity  and  immutability, 
as  well  as  omniscience,  holiness,  goodness  and  truth,  are 
grossly  incompatible  with  the  notion  of  matter  as  compound, 


174  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  VIT. 

divisible,  disecrptible,  clestriictible.     Hence,   to    deny    that 
God  is  spirit  is  tantamount  to  Atheism. 

There  is  only  one  passage  of  Scripture  in  which  it  is  ex- 
plicitly affirmed  that  God  is  a  spirit,  but 

Scripture   proofs  of        ,i  i       j     •  •       •  t    •,^  ,     -         i     •  n 

tho  doctrine.  '^"^  doctriuc  IS  imphcitly  contained  in  all 

the  representations  which  it  makes  of  His 
nature  and  perfections.  In  John  iv.  24  the  direct  testimony 
of  Christ  has  been  evaded  by  making  Spirit  the  accusative 
case,  and  supplying  the  word  seeks  from  the  preceding  verse. 
The  sense  would  then  be  not  that  God  is  a  spirit,  but  that 
God  seeks  the  spirit,  or  demands  the  spirit  from  His  wor- 
shippers. This  is  the  interpretation  of  Vorstius.  The 
reason  which  he  assigns  is,  that  the  argument  from  the  nature 
of  God  to  the  nature  of  the  worship  He  exacts  is  not  valid 
and  consequential.  It  is  not  His  nature,  but  His  will  that 
determines  the  character  of  worship.  But  to  this  it  may  be 
readily  replied  that  the  nature  determines  the  will ;  so  that 
the  nature  of  God  is  the  foundation,  while  the  will  of  God  is 
the  rule  or  measure  of  religious  worship.^  If  the  reasoning, 
it  is  contended,  from  a  spiritual  nature  to  a  spiritual  worship 
is  valid,  then  the  inference  would  be  sound  from  a  bodily 
worship,  such  as  that  enjoined  upon  the  Jews,  to  a  bodily 
nature.  But  it  is  forgotten  that  the  body  is  not  the  wor- 
shipper, but  only  an  instrument  of  w^orship.  It  is  the  means 
of  manifesting  the  inward  condition — the  outward  expression 
of  the  invisible  spirit.  Apart  from  this  relation,  bodily  ex- 
ercise profiteth  nothing.  There  seems  to  be  no  good  reason, 
therefore,  for  departing  from  the  ordinary  interpretation : 
God  is  a  spirit.  But  even  if  we  should  adopt  the  exposition 
of  Vorstius,  the  spirituality  of  God  might  still,  as  Limborch  - 
suggests,  be  fairly  collected  from  the  text.  Why  should  He 
demand  a  spiritual  worship  if  He  were  not  a  spiritual  being  ? 
Why  should  He  exact  an  homage  that  was  wholly  inconsist- 
ent with  his  essential  perfections  ? — an  homage,  in  fact,  by 
which  the  worshipper  shows  himself  superior  to  the  wor- 

^  Charnock,  vol.  i.,  p.  245.  *  Theol.  Christ.,  Lib.  ii.,  c.  iv. 

Lect.  VII.]  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  175 

Among  the  passages  in  which  tlie  spirituality  of  God  is 
obviously  implied  are  Numbers  xvi.  22,  in  which  lie  is  en- 
titled The  God  of  tlie  spirits  of  all  flesh ;  and  Hebrews  xii. 
9,  in  which  He  is  denominated  The  Father  of  spirits.  He 
is  evidently  their  Father,  in  the  sense  that  they  spring  from 
Him  and  are  like  Him.  The  contrast  betwixt  God  and  the 
Egyptians  in  Isaiah  xxxi.  3,  "  that  the  Egyptians  are  men 
and  not  God,  and  their  horses  flesh  and  not  spirit,"  proceeds 
upon  the  assumption  that  God  is  pre-eminently  spiritual. 
The  Third  Person  of  the  Trinity  is  unquestionably  spirit. 
Holy  Spirit  or  Holi/  Ghost  (for  ghost  and  spirit  are  synony- 
mous) is  His  proper  name,  and  as  Pie  is  substantially  the 
same  with  the  Father  and  the  Son,  the  Father  and  the  Son 
must  be  spirit  also.  All  those  passages,  moreover,  which 
ascribe  wisdom,  knowledge,  counsel,  purjjose  and  decrees  to 
God — which  represent  Him,  in  other  words,  as  possessed  of 
intellectual  and  moral  perfections — are  so  many  proofs  of  a 
spiritual  nature.  As  the  stream  cannot  rise  higher  than  the 
fountain,  the  existence  of  finite  and  dependent  spirits  in  the 
case  of  angels  and  of  men  involves  the  existence  of  the  Su- 
preme and  Absolute  spirit  as  their  principle  and  source.  He 
that  planted  the  ear,  shall  not  He  hear  ?  He  that  formed 
the  eye,  shall  not  He  see  ?  He  that  chastiseth  the  heathen, 
shall  not  He  correct  ?  He  that  teach eth  man  knowledge,  shall 
not  He  know  ?  Abolish  this  doctrine  of  the  Divine  spirit- 
uality, and  the  Scripture  testimonies  to  God  become  a  tissue 
of  contradictions  and  absurdities.  It  lies  at  the  root  of 
everything  they  teach. 

The  ancient  heathen  philosophers  concur  in  the  same  fun- 
damental  truth.     The    supreme    God    of 
The  ancient  phiios-     pj^^^^  ^^^^^  Aristotlc  figurcs  as  thc  Supreme 

ophers  coucur.  o  l 

intelligence  or  mind.  Socrates  sought  Him 
as  the  explanation  of  the  principle  of  order,  and  pursues  the 
argument  from  final  causes  in  the  very  spirit  of  modern 
teleologists.  Plutarch^  calls  Him  a  pure  intelligence,  simple 
and  unmixed  in  His  own  nature,  but  mingling  Himself  with 
'  Quoted  in  Owen,  vol.  viii.,  p.  147. 

176  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lkct.  YII. 

eveiytlilng  besides.  And  whatever  may  be  said  of  the  Pan- 
theistic vein,  the  testimony  to  God  as  Mind  is  clear  and  de- 
cisive in  the  well-known  lines  of  Virgil : 

"  Spiritus  intus  alit,  totamque  infusa  per  artus 
Mens  agitat  molem."  ^ 

The  spirituality  of  God  is  both  a  negative  and  a  positive 
truth.  As  negative  it  denies  of  Him  the 
loftTlrmateriar'  propcrties  and  ^ affcctions  of  matter;  it  is 
equivalent  to  immaterial.  Hence  He  is 
not  a  being  who  can  be  represented  to  sense,  nor  figured  in 
the  imagination.  He  is  not  divisible  into  parts,  nor  circum- 
scribed by  space.  He  exists  as  an  unit,  simple  and  indis- 
cerptible,  and  therefore  indestructible.  It  is  clear  that  a 
material  being  cannot  be  infinite,  or  if  he  could  be  infinite 
it  would  destroy  the  possibility  of  all  finite  matter.  Its 
nature  is  to  be  bounded  by  figure,  and  to  exclude  every 
other  matter  from  the  space  which  it  occupies.  As  bounded, 
it  cannot  be  infinite :  as  exclusive,  if  it  were  infinite,  it  would 
absolutely  fill  the  immensity  of  space  and  preclude  the  co- 
existence of  finite  portions. 

There  have  been  those  M'ho  have  interpreted  literally  the 
language  of  Scripture  which  predicates  of  God  bodily  mem- 
bers and  organs,  and  have  conseqaently  sunk  Him  to  the 
low  condition  of  corporeal  existence.  This  coarse  anthro- 
pomorphism or  anthropopathism,  as  it  has 

Ancient  and  n     i  -i  i  i         t^i  • 

been  called,  was  attributed  to  the  Jibion- 
ites,  to  the  monks  of  Egypt  and  to  the  sect  of  the  Audians. 
It  has  certainly  been  maintained,  in  modern  times,  by  more 
than  one  disciple  of  Socinus.  It  was  the 
ThiteT  "°*'^''°P°"°'-  doctrine  of  Vorstius ;  the  doctrine  of  Bid- 
die  in  the  Catechism,  so  conclusively  re- 
futed by  Owen  in  the  Vindicice  Evangeliccc;  the  doctrine  of 
Hobbes ;  and  still  more  recently  the  doctrine  of  Priestly. 
It  is  now  abandoned  by  the  Socinians,  who  have  approxi- 
mated more  closely  than  their  predecessors  to  the  spiritual 
Deism  of  philosophy. 

1  ^n.  vi.,  726,  727. 

Lect.  VII.]  SPIRITUALITY    OF    GOD.  177 

Tertullian  has  been  accused  of  attributing  a  body  to  God, 
and  so  far  as  the  letter  of  the  accusation  is 

Tertullian  defended.  i     i         i  •  •  i  i       •       j. 

concerned  the  charge  is  unquestionably  just. 
But  by  body  he  evidently  means  nothing  more  than  substan- 
tial existence — something  permanent  and  abiding,  and  not 
like  a  breath  of  air  or  a  transitory  vapour.  In  the  same 
sense  he  predicates  a  body  of  the  human  soul,  but  yet  de- 
scribes it  in  a  manner  which  precludes  the  notion  of  mate- 
rial composition.^  Indeed  he  tells  us  articulately^  what  he 
means  by  hochj.  "  Nothing  can  exist,"  says  he,  "  but  as 
having  something  by  which  it  exists.  As  the  soul,  however, 
exists,  it  must  needs  have  something  by  which  it  exists. 
That  something  is  its  body.  Everything  is  a  body  of  its 
own  kind.  Nothing  is  incorporeal  which  has  real  exist- 
ence." Body  is,  therefore,  nothing  more  nor  less  than  the 
indispensable  condition  of  existence.  It  is  the  permanent 
element  amid  the  variable  and  changing,  and  it  is  material 
or  spiritual  according  to  the  nature  of  the  object.  A  passage 
quoted  in  Kitto's  Cyclopcedia,  under  the  title  Anthropomor- 
phism, will  show  how  far  this  celebrated  father  was  from 
anything  like  a  material  conception  of  God.  "Divine 
affections,"  says  he,  "are  ascribed  to  the  Deity  by  means 
of  figures  borrowed  from  the  human  form,  not  as  if  He 
were  indued  with  corporeal  qualities.  When  eyes  are 
ascribed  to  Him,  it  denotes  that  He  sees  all  things ;  when 
ears,  that  He  hears  all  things ;  the  speech  denotes  His  will ; 
nostrils,  the  perception  of  prayer ;  hands,  creation ;  arms, 
power ;  feet,  immensity ;  for  He  has  no  members  and  per- 
forms no  office  for  which  they  are  required,  but  executes  all 
things  by  the  sole  act  of  His  will.  How  can  He  require 
eyes  who  is  light  itself  ?  or  feet  who  is  omnipresent  ?  How 
can  He  require  hands  who  is  the  silent  Creator  of  all  things  ? 
or  a  tongue  to  whom  to  think  is  to  command  ?  Those  mem- 
bers  are  necessary  to  men,  but  not  to  God,  inasmuch  as  the 
counsels  of  men  would  be  inefficacious  unless  their  thoughts 

^  See  Burton's  Bampton  Lectures,  note  59. 
2  Ad  Prax.,  c.  7. 
Vol.  I.— 12 

178  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  YII. 

put  their  members  in  motion ;  but  not  to  God,  whose  ope- 
rations folloAV  His  will  without  effort." 

Tlie  Scriptures  themselves  sufficiently  guard  against  the 
perverse  application  of  their  bold  metaphors  in  attributing 
the  organs  of  the  human  body  to  the  supreme  God,  when 
they  articulately  remind  us  that  His  arm  is  not  an  arm  of 
flesh,  nor  His  eyes  eyes  of  flesh,  neither  seeth  He  as  man 
seeth.^  The  same  wonder  which  in  one  place  is  ascribed  to 
the  "  finder  of  God "  is  attributed  in  another  to  the  imme- 
diate  agency  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  cf  Luke  xi.  20  ;  Matt, 
xii.  28.  To  the  candid  reader  there  is  no  danger  of  being 
misled  by  such  representations.  They  are  obvious  con- 
descensions to  the  infirmities  of  human 
of£;^:S:::  thought,  and  are  designed  to  signify  that 
there  are  acts  of  God  analogous  to  those 
for  which  we  employ  these  members.  When  he  is  said  to 
see  or  to  hear,  the  meaning  is  that  He  knows  with  as  abso- 
lute a  certainty  as  we  can  obtain  by  the  evidence  of  the  eye 
or  the  ear.  These  organs  are  simply  symbols  of  knowledge. 
His  arm  and  hand  the  symbols  of  power,  and  His  bowels 
the  symbol  of  tender  compassion.^  The  exposition  of  Ter- 
tullian  quoted  above  is  clear  and  satisfactory. 

It  is  remarkable,  too,  that  no  organs  are  ascribed  to  God 
similar  to  those  by  which  we  perform  the  mean  and  disrep- 
utable functions  of  the  body,  and  no  offices  which  savour 
of  weakness  or  of  imperfection.  The  intent  of  Scripture 
could  not  be  more  nicely  discriminated.  "  To  eat  and  sleep 
are  never  ascribed  to  Him,  nor  those  parts  that  belong  to 
the  preparing  or  transmitting  nourishment  to  the  several 
parts  of  the  body,  as  stomach,  liver,  veins  nor  bowels,  under 
that  consideration,  but  as  they  are  significant  of  compas- 
sion. But  only  those  parts  are  ascribed  to  Him  whereby 
we  acquire  knowledge,  as  eyes  and  ears,  the  organs  of  learn- 
ing and  wisdom ;  or  to  communicate  it  to  others,  as  the 
the  month,  lips,  tongue,  as  they  are  instruments  of  speak- 

1  2  Cliron.  xxxii.  8 ;  Job  x.  4.    Cf.  Owen,  vol.  viii.,  p.  154. 

2  See  Charnock,  i.,  pp.  262,  263. 

Lect.  VII.]  SPIRITUALITY    OF   GOD.  179 

ing,  not  of  tasting ;  or  those  parts  which  signify  strength 
and  power,  or  whereby  we  perform  the  actions  of  charity 
for  the  relief  of  others.  Taste  and  touch,  senses  that  ex- 
tend no  farther  than  to  corporeal  things,  and  are  the  grossest 
of  all  the  senses,  are  never  ascribed  to  Him."  ^ 

The  immateriality  of  God  is  clearly  implied  in  all  those 
God  immaterial,  as  ^xts  which  represent  His  glory  as  being 
not  to  be  figured  by  incapablc  of  being  -figured  by  images.  The 
second  commandment  forbids  the  making 
of  any  graven  image,  or  the  likeness  of  anytliing  that  is  in 
heaven  above,  or  in  the  earth  beneath,  or  in  the  waters 
under  the  earth.  Moses  reminds  the  Israelites  that  they  saw 
no  manner  of  similitude  when  the  Lord  spoke  to  them  in 
Horeb  out  of  the  midst  of  the  fire ;  and  enjoins  upon  them 
to  take  heed  to  themselves  lest  they  should  be  seduced  to 
make  them  a  graven  image,  the  similitude  of  any  figure.^ 
The  Apostle  Paul  reminds  the  Athenians  that  the  Godhead 
is  not  like  unto  gold,  or  silver,  or  stone,  graven  by  art  and 
man's  device ;  ^  and  the  Saviour  Himself  appeals  to  the  Jcavs 
that  they  had  never  heard  the  voice  at  any  time,  nor  seen  the 
shape  of  God.* 

In  the  twenty-fourth  chapter  of  Exodus  there  occurs  a 
passage  which,  at  the  first  view,  seems  to  be  inconsistent 
with  the  general  teaching  of  Scripture :  "  Then  went  up 
Moses  and  Aaron,  Nadab  and  Abihu,  and  seventy  of  the 
elders  of  Israel ;  and  they  saw  the  God  of  Israel ;  and  there 
was  under  His  feet  as  it  were  a  paved  work  of  a  sapphire 
stone,  and  as  it  were  the  body  of  heaven  in  its  clearness." 
(Vv.  9,  10.)  Onkelos  renders  it  the  glory  of  the  God  of 
Israel ;  and  when  we  remember  that  God  is  invisible  in 
Himself,  dwelling  in  light  which  no  creature  can  venture  to 
approach,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  allusion  is  to  some 
brilliant  symbol  of  the  Divine  presence,  in  keeping  with  the 
majestic  pediment  upon  which  it  stood.  "The  colour  of 
sapphire,"  says  Calvin,^  "  was  presented  to  them  to  elevate 

^  Charnock  i.,  p.  263.  ^  j)eut.  iv.  15,  seq.  »  Acts  xvii.  29. 

*  John  V.  37.  5  Harm.  Pent.,  vol.  iii.,  p.  323. 

180  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lect,  VII. 

their  minds  by  its  brightness  above  the  workl,  and  therefore 
it  is  immedia:tely  added  that  its  appearance  was  as  of  the 
clear  and  serene  sky.  By  this  symbol  they  were  reminded 
that  the  glory  of  God  is  above  all  heavens ;  and  since  in  His 
very  footstool  there  is  such  exquisite  and  surpassing  beauty, 
something  still  more  sublime  must  be  thought  of  Him- 
self, and  such  as  would  ravish  all  our  senses  with  admi- 

The  positive  thing  which  is  involved  in  the  sjjirituality 
Positively,  the  doc-  ^f  God  is  that  Hc  is  a  self-conscious  sub- 
trine  ascribes  to  God  jcct,  a  Pcrsou  posscsscd  of  intelligence  and 
will.  We  can  conceive  an  immaterial  sub- 
stance which  is  not  a  person — such  as  the  vital  principle  in 
brutes,  and  the  plastic  nature  which  the  ancients  invented  as 
the  soul  of  the  world.  There  may  be  a  receptivity  of  im- 
pressions, of  sensations,  of  presentations,  and  even  of  repre- 
sentations of  the  imagination  in  memory,  without  any  dis- 
tinct consciousness  of  self.  The  phenomena  appear  and  dis- 
appear like  the  images  of  a  mirror,  but  there  is  no  feeling 
which  collects  them  into  a  common  centre,  and  reduces  them 
to  unity  as  the  varied  experiences  of  a  single,  permanent, 
abiding  subject.  The  brute  knows  not  itself;  it  only  knows 
its  sensations.  It  can  never  say,  3Iy  thought,  my  wish,  my 
desire.  What  we  call  its  soul  is  never  realized  to  it  as  an 
unit ;  it  appears  only  as  a  series  of  phenomena.  When  Ave 
have  learned  to  discriminate  between  our  fleeting  and  tran- 
sitory modes  of  consciousness  and  that  which  successively 
subsists  in  these  modes,  when  we  learn  to  distinguish  be- 
tween the  thinker  and  his  thoughts,  then  we  come  to  the 
knowledge  of  ourselves.  The  broad  and  impassable  dis- 
tinction between  mind  and  matter,  between  a  person  and  a 
thing,  is,  that  the  one  knows  and  knows  that  it  knows,  while 
the  other  is  only  an  object  to  be  known.  The  one  has  a  free 
activity,  the  other  moves  only  as  it  is  moved.  The  one  acts, 
the  other  is  acted  upon.  Perhaps  the  clearest  realization  of 
self-hood  is  in  the  phenomena  of  will.     It  was  the  doctrine 

Lect.  VII.]  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  181 

of  Locke  and  the  Scotch  philosophers  that  our  own  exist- 
ence was  not  directly  given  in  consciousness, 

Locke.  •^.*'  ' 

but  was  a  matter  of  inference  and  necessary 
belief.     All  that  we  can  directly  know  are  the  phenomena 
of  self — its  thoughts,  sensations,  desires ;  but  not  self,  or  the 
thinking  principle  itself.     This  principle  has  been  success- 
fully combated  by  Sir  William  Hamilton 

Hamilton  and  Mansel.  i-»»-       -»«-  i  n      i  i       t 

and  Mr.  Mansel,  and  the  dualism  of  con- 
sciousness brought  out  in  a  strong  and  clear  light.  Mr. 
Mansel  has  pressed  the  phenomena  of  will  as  decisive  of  the 
question.  "  If,"  says  he,^  "  in  the  mental  state  which  cor- 
responds to  the  judgment,  I  will,  there  is  no  consciousness 
of  /,  but  only  of  will,  it  is  impossible  to  place  the  essential 
feature  of  volition,  as  has  been  done  above,  in  the  conscious- 
ness of  myself  having  power  over  my  own  determinations.  Will, 
and  not  I,  being  the  primary  fact  of  consciousness,  the 
causative  power  of  volition  must  be  sought  in  the  relation 
between  will  and  some  subsequent  phenomenon ;  and  so 
sought,  it  will  assuredly  never  be  found.  It  cannot  be  found 
where  Locke  sought  it,  in  the  relation  between  the  deter- 
mination of  the  will  and  the  consequent  motion  of  the  limb  ; 
for  the  determination  is  not  the  immediate  antecedent  of  the. 
motion,  but  only  of  the  intervening  nervous  and  muscular 
action.  I  cannot  therefore  be  immediately  conscious  of  my 
power  to  move  a  limb  when  I  am  not  immediately  conscious 
of  my  power  to  produce  the  antecedent  phenomena.  Nor 
yet  can  the  causative  power  be  found  where  Maine  de  Biran 
sought  it,  in  the  relation  of  the  will  to  the  action  of  the 
nerves  and  muscles ;  for  this  relation  may  at  any  time  be 
interrupted  by  purely  physical  causes,  such  as  a  stroke  of 
paralysis ;  and  in  that  case  no  exertion  of  the  will  can  pro- 
duce the  desired  effect.  We  can  escape  from  this  difficulty, 
the  stronghold  of  skepticism  and  necessitarianism,  by  one 
path  only,  and  that  is  by  a  more  accurate  analysis  of  the 
purely  mental  state,  which  will  discover  an  immediate  con- 
sciousness of  power  in  myself,  determining  my  own  volitions.'^ 
^  Metaphys.,  p.  175. 

182  SPIRITUALITY   OF    GOD.  [Lect.  VII. 

Here,  then,  is  an  immediate  revelation  of  myself,  and  of  my- 
self as  a  power — as  a  real,  abiding,  subsisting  thing.  So  far 
is  it  from  being  true  that  our  knowledge  of  matter  is  su- 
perior to  our  knowledge  of  mind,  that  it  is  precisely  the  re- 
verse which  holds.  The  reality  of  matter  I  can  never  seize 
at  all,  but  the  reality  of  self  is  given  in  every  act  of  con- 
sciousness. It  is  the  only  reality,  apart  from  phenomena, 
that  falls  within  the  province  of  our  faculties.  It  is  the  only 
thing  that  we  are  entitled  to  denominate  being,  as  contra- 
distinguished from  appearance.  "  Personality,"  says  Man- 
sel,^  "  like  all  other  simple  and  immediate  presentations,  is 
indefinable ;  but  it  is  so  because  it  is  superior  to  definition. 
It  can  be  analyzed  into  no  simpler  elements,  for  it  is  itself 
one  element  of  a  product  which  defies  analysis.  It  can  be 
made  no  clearer  by  description  or  comparison,  for  it  is  re- 
vealed to  us  in  all  the  clearness  of  an  original  intuition,  of 
which  description  and  comparison  can  furnish  only  faint  and 
partial  resemblances."  God  is  a  Spirit.  God  is  a  Person. 
This  is  the  highest  conception  which  our  finite  faculties  can 
frame  of  His  nature ;  it  is  the  noblest  tribute  which  we  are 
capable  of  paying  to  His  being. 

•  In  paying  this  tribute,  let  it  be  mentioned,  as  distinctly 
implied  in  personality,  that  we  separate  God  from  every 
other  being  besides.  He  is  not  the  universe.  He  is  not 
law.  He  is  not  the  result  of  material  organization.  He  is 
in  Himself,  by  Himself,  and  for  Himself.  His  existence  is 
pre-eminently  and  absolutely  His  own.  Separateness  of 
being  is  as  essential  to  ijersonality  as  sim- 

Separateness         of  .  .  .  i      i-  r* 

being  in  opposition  to  plicity  or  uuity.  It  distinguishes  and  dii- 
everyformofPanthe-  fepences.  Heiicc,  cvcry  form  of  Paiithcism 
is  inconsistent  with  the  noblest  idea  which 
we  are  able  to  frame  of  God.  He  affirms  Himself  in  affirm- 
ing that  He  is  not  the  finite ;  as  we  affirm  ourselves,  as  sub- 
jects, in  affirming  that  Ave  are  not  the  objects  of  our  know- 
ledge. Self  and  not-self  divide  existence,  and  each  excludes 
the  other. 

1  Metaphys.,  p.  182. 

Lect.  VII.]  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  183 

Let  us  consider  some  of  the  elements  that  are  contained 
in  the  proposition  that  God  is  a  Spirit. 

1.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  equivalent  to  saying  that  God 
has  life ;  and  as  the  infinite  Spirit  that  He 

As  spiritual,  God  is       i         ^•^     '      tt*  ij?       tt      •     j_i  i 

necessary  life,  lias  liie  lu  Hmiseli.     He  IS  the  source  and 

fountain  of  all  life,  and  possesses  in  Him- 
self, in  perfect  fullness,  what  He  has  distributed  in  various 
portions  to  the  creatures  of  His  hands.  Hence,  He  claims 
it  as  His  prerogative  to  be  the  only  living  as  well  as  true 
God.  He  only  hath  immortality  in  Himself;  and  the  high- 
est and  most  solemn  guarantee  of  truth  which  even  a  Divine 
oath  can  give  is  found  in  the  immutability  of  the  Divine 
life.  "  As  I  live,  saith  the  Lord,"  is  the  most  awful  adju- 
ration which  even  God  can  make.  We  know  not  what  life 
is,  in  any  of  its  forms,  in  its  own  essential  nature.  It  is  so 
subtle  that  it  escapes  the  knife  of  the  anatomist,  the  tests  of 
the  chemist  and  the  skill  of  the  physiologist.  It  is  every- 
where present  in  the  animal  frame,  but  nowhere  to  be  seized 
and  detected  apart  from  its  phenomenal  effects.  We  know 
what  it  does,  but  we  are  wholly  unable  to  explain  what  it  is. 
It  is  the  badge  of  honour  among  the  works  of  God — as  they 
increase  in  life,  they  rise  in  dignity  and  worth.  It  is  the 
excellence  of  man's  life,  as  a  spiritual,  thinking  being,  that 
constitutes  man's  glory  in  the  domain  of  sublunary  exist- 
ence. "  On  earth  there  is  nothing  great  but  man ;  in  man 
there  is  nothing  great   but  mind."     This 

and  activity.  t  p    •         t  .     . 

life  implies  activity — a  power  of  self-motion 
and  of  self-determination.  The  grounds  of  its  action,  in 
reference  to  God,  are  solely  within  Himself.  He  is  not 
moved  or  impelled  from  without ;  the  springs  of  His  energy 
are  all  within,  in  the  fullness  and  depths  of  His  own  being. 
He  never  rests,  never  slumbers,  never  grows  weary,  never 
relaxes  His  activity.  To  live  is  His  blessedness  as  well  as 
His  glory.  Ceaseless  action  is  the  very  essence  of  His  nature. 
It  is  a  badge  of  imperfection  among  us  that  our  energies  be- 
come fatigued  by  exertion,  and  that  we  require  intervals  of 
relaxation  and  repose.     One  half  of  our  lives  is  lost  in  sleep ; 

184  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  YII. 

and  even  in  our  waking  moments  continued  intensity  of 
thought  has  a  tendency  to  consume  the  frame  which  carries 
so  active  a  tenant.  The  brighter  the  candle  burns,  the  more 
rapidly  it  wastes  away.  We  sigh  for  the  period  when  we 
shall  be  clothed  with  our  spiritual  bodies,  and  introduced  into 
a  world  in  which  there  is  neither  sleep  nor  night ;  in  which 
exertion  shall  be  uninterrupted  and  complete ;  in  which  all 
the  powers  of  the  soul  shall  be  eternally  and  intensely  ex- 
ercised, but  exercised  in  such  just  and  beautiful  proportions 
that  the  rapture  shall  become  sobriety  and  the  excitement  a 
calm.  Yet  even  in  its  purest  and  most  exalted  state  our 
activity  is  limited  and  derived.  It  is  and  ever  must  be  de- 
pendent on  conditions.  But  the  activity,  the  life  of  God 
is  without  restriction  or  defect.  Self-originated  and  self- 
sustained,  it  is  equal  to  itself  from  everlasting  to  everlasting. 
"  My  Father  worketh  hitherto,  and  I  work."  Could  God 
jjause  in  the  ceaseless  flow  of  His  energies,  the  heavens  must 
cease  to  roll  and  the  earth  to  move ;  rivers  cease  to  flow  and 
the  ocean  to  receive  them ;  the  general  pulse  of  life  would 
cease  to  beat,  and  the  awful  silence  of  death  pervade  the 
universe.  It  is  as  God  lives  that  all  else  live  besides. 
They  live  and  move  and  have  their  being  in  Him.  The 
pledge  of  universal  safety  is  that  He  never  slumbers  nor 
sleeps.  How  different  is  such  a  God  from  the  indolent  idol 
of  Epicurean  philosophy !  How  different  the  happiness 
which  flows  from  the  fullness  and  energy  of  unimpeded  ex- 
ercise from  the  voluptuous  repose  which  possesses  attractions 
only  for  ignoble  natures !  It  is  true  that  man's  sin  has 
added  pain  to  labor  and  converted  work  into  toil.  But  in 
itself,  the  highest  and  freest  activity  is  the  highest  bliss; 
and  God  is  infinitely  blessed  only  as  He  is  infinitely  active. 
2.  But  in  the  next  place,  the  activity  of  God  is  not  mere 

motion  or  agitation.  It  is  the  highest  and 
thought  Ind^Si.''"^    noblest   of   all    activity--the   activity   of 

thought  and  will.  He  is  to  Himself  an 
inexhaustible  fountain  of  knowledge  and  action.  He  is 
not  a  blind  principle  operating  by  a  stern  necessity,  uncon- 

Lect.  VIL]  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  185 

sclous  of  the  laws  which  determine  and  regulate  His  move- 
ments. He  is  no  remorseless  fate,  no  soul  of  the  world,  no 
abstract  substance  without  definite  qualities  and  attributes. 
He  knows  what  He  does,  and  does  it  because  He  knows  it 
to  be  right  and  wise.  He  is  the  master  of  Himself.  His 
will  is  absolutely  and  unchangeably  free,  and  in  its  free- 
dom is  never  divorced  from  wisdom  and  justice.  He  is  no 
necessary  cause,  but  He  creates  only  because  he  chooses  to 
create.  He  dispenses  His  gifts  according  to  His  own  sove- 
reign pleasure.  He  rules  in  the  armies  of  heaven  and 
among  the  inhabitants  of  earth,  and  none  can  stay  His 
hand  or  say  unto  Him,  What  doest  Thou?  He  worketh 
all  things  according  to  the  counsel  of  His  own  will.  It  is 
in  this  Being  of  knowledge  and  liberty,  this  Being  of  pure 
sjDiritual  life,  that  we  recognize  the  God  who  made  the 
heavens  and  the  earth,  and  in  whom  we  live  and  move 
and  have  our  being,  and  whom  we  are  bound  to  worship 
with  our  whole  souls.  This  is  the  God  whose  right  it  is  to 
reign,  for  He  is  worthy.  What  energy  can  be  compared 
with  intelligence  ?  What  Being  so  exalted  as  He  who  can 
say,  "1  know  and  I  will"?  These  simple  monosyllables 
bridge  a  boundless  chasm  in  the  order  of  existence.  And 
how  glorious  must  He  be  who  stands  at  the  head  of  this 
order,  and  concentrates  within  Himself  all  the  resources  of 
wisdom  and  knowledge  and  goodness — who  gathers  into  the 
burning  focus  of  His  own  being  every  ray  of  intellectual 
and  moral  beauty  that  is  anywhere  reflected  in  the  bound- 
less universe !  How  glorious  is  God,  who  is  all  knowledge 
and  all  will,  whose  very  life  is  to  know  and  will,  with  whom 
to  be  and  to  know  are  synonymous !  One  soul  is  greater 
than  a  whole  universe  of  matter.  AVhat,  then,  must  God  be 
who  is  an  infinite  Spirit ! 

3.  In  the  third  place,  we  may  see  the  sense  in  which  we 
are  to  understand  the  unity  and  simplicity 

The  nature  of  God's  /»/^l  t  j_1'j.''  '^  i-i 

unity  and  simplicity.      ^^  ^od.     I  mcau  the  intmisic  unity  which 
pertains  to  His  essence,  and  not  the  rela- 
tive unity  which  excludes  more  than  one  such  being.     The 

186  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  VII. 

unity  and  simplicity  are  certainly  the  unity  and  simplicity 
of  spirit — an  unity  which  is  attested  in  every  act  of  con- 
sciousness. The  human  soul  is  one ;  it  cannot  be  resolved 
into  parts ;  it  cannot  be  divided,  so  that  a  portion  shall  be 
here  and  a  portion  there.  It  always  exists  and  acts  in  its 
totality.  The  /  is  the  very  perfection  of  simplicity.  But 
when  theologians  go  farther,  and  from  abstract  speculations 
on  the  infinite  preclude  every  species  of  distinction  in  the 
modes  of  its  existence,  they  are  warranted  by  no  finite  an- 
alogies, and  transcend  accordingly  the  limits  of  human 
thought.  What  they  say  may  be  true,  but  they  have  no 
means  of  verifying  their  assertion.  The  relative  unity  or 
onliness  of  God  precludes  genera  and  species.  His  intrinsic 
unity  precludes  separable  accidents,  but  what  warrant  is 
there  for  precluding  the  distinction  of  substance  and  attri- 
bute, or  precluding  distinctions  among  the  attributes  them- 
selves? The  thing  may  be  just  and  proper,  but  we  can 
never  prove  it  to  be  so,  and  the  only  unity  accordingly  which 
we  are  authorized  to  attribute  to  God  is  an  unity  analogous 
to  that  of  the  human  soul. 

4.  In  the  fourth  place,  because  God  is  a  Sjsirit,  He  can 

Because  spiritual,     ^uter  ^  iuto   commuuiou   with   our   spirits. 

God  can    commune     This  is  oue  of  the  most  mystcrious  attri- 

with  our  spirits.  ,  r«         •      i  i  i  i  •    i     • 

butes  ot  mnid — the  power  by  which  it  can 
impart  to  others  the  knowledge  of  what  passes  within  itself. 
It  is  this  jieculiarity  which  lies  at  the  foundation  of  the 
possibility  of  society.  If  each  soul  existed  only  as  an  in- 
dividual, and  there  was  no  medium  by  Avhich  its  thoughts 
and  feelings  and  affections  could  be  communicated  to  other 
souls,  there  might  be  contiguity  in  space,  but  there  could  be 
no  such  moral  unions  among  men  as  those  which  are  pre- 
sented in  the  Family,  the  Church  and  the  State.  Intense 
individualism  would  be  the  law  of  all  human  life.  We  are 
so  familiar  with  the  interchange  of  thoughts  and  feelings, 
that  we  have  ceased  to  marvel  at  the  mystery  it  involves. 
But  it  is  a  mystery  notwithstanding,  and  a  mystery  Avhich, 
while  all  must  accept  it  as  a  fact,  no  human   philosophy 

Lect.  VII.]  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  187 

can  explain.  Mind  does  hold  commerce  with  mind.  The 
thoughts  of  one  man  can  be  transferred  to  another — the  con- 
sciousness of  one  man  can  to  some  extent  be  laid  bare  to 
another.  And  so  God  can  communicate  with  His  intelli- 
gent creatures.  He  can  make  known  to  them  His  attitude 
in  relation  to  them.  He  can  enter  into  their  souls,  and 
warm  and  irradiate  them  with  the  tokens  of  His  favour,  or 
depress  and  alarm  them  with  the  sense  of  His  displeasure. 
It  is  His  spirituality  which  enables  Him  to  be  communica- 
tive, and  which  consequently  enables  Him  to  become  the 
jiortion  of  their  souls.  Apart  from  this  He  could  not  be 
the  supreme  and  satisfying  good.  Hence  His  spirituality 
lies  at  the  foundation  of  all  true  religion.  Take  that  away, 
and  there  is  and  can  be  no  symjsathy  betwixt  the  worshipper 
and  the  worshipped.  There  may  be  contiguity  and  impact, 
but  there  can  be  no  union,  no  communion.  Each  would 
still  be  a  stranger  to  the  other. 

5.  This  subject  reveals  to  us  the  real  folly  and  danger  of 

Because  Bpirituai,     idolatry.      By  idolatry  I  here   mean  any 

God  cannot  be  repre-     attempt  to  represent  God  by  images,  whe- 

sented  by  images.  i  i  •  inn 

ther  those  images  are  regarded  really  as 
God,  or  only  as  symbols  of  His  presence.  The  two  things 
are  substantially  the  same.  To  worship  the  image,  and  to 
worship  God  in  and  by  the  image,  produce  similar  effects 
upon  the  mind  of  the  worshipper.  His  thoughts  in  either 
case  are  regulated  and  determined  by  the  object  before  Him. 

Now  every  image  is  a  falsehood  in  two 

The  idol,  a  twofold  ,  t        l^         n      ,        ^  • , 

ijg  respects.     In  the  lirst  place,  it  represents 

the  living  by  the  dead.  That  which  has 
life  in  itself,  whose  essence  it  is  to  live,  is  figured  by  that 
whose  nature  is  essentially  inert.  There  is  no  point  of  re- 
semblance betwixt  mind  and  matter.  They  exist  only  as 
contrasts.  Hence  the  image  must  be  a  doctrine  of  false- 
hood ;  it  must  lead  the  mind  into  wrong  trains  of  thought 
in  reference  to  the  nature  of  God ;  it  must  degrade  Him  to 
some  of  the  conditions  of  matter. 

In  the  next  place,  the  image  is  a  falsehood,  inasmuch  as  it 

188  SPIRITUALITY   OF   GOD.  [Lect.  VII. 

represents  a  free  activity  by  that  which  is  the  victim  of  a 
stern  necessity.  God,  as  self-moved,  cannot  be  symbolized 
by  any  object  whose  law  is  to  move  only  as  it  is  moved. 
Mechanical  necessity  can  never  figure  freedom  of  will,  and 
yet  this  is  the  very  core  of  the  Divine  Personality.  It  is 
that  which  makes  God  the  object  of  our  worship. 

These  two  fundamental  errors  must  prove  fatal  in  the 
moral  education  of  the  worshipper.  It  is  impossible  to 
think  by  the  image  and  yet  think  in  accordance  with  the 
truth.  A  mechanical  religion  is  the  only  w^orship  that  can 
spring  from  idolatry.  Hence  it  is  that  the  Divine  law 
guards  so  sacredly  the  purity  of  Divine  worship.  To  admit 
images  is  to  necessitate  the  moral  degradation  of  God ;  and 
to  degrade  God  is,  inevitably,  in  the  final  reaction,  to  de- 
grade ourselves.  From  the  nature  of  the  case,  idolatry  must 
wax  worse  and  worse  as  its  fundamental  falsehoods  acquire  a 
stronger  hold  upon  the  mind.  The  only  remedy  is  to  pre- 
vent the  beginnings  of  the  evil,  and  that  is  done  in  the  stern 
decree  of  the  second  commandment.  A  spiritual  God  can 
only  be  worshipped  in  spirit  and  in  truth.  A  free  Personal 
God  can  only  be  worshipped  with  a  free  personal  will. 



TTAVING  discussed  the  spirituality,  and  in  a  general 
-■— '-  way  the  personality,  of  God,  the  next  thing  in  order 
would  be  the  peculiar  mode  of  the  Divine  Personality  in  the 
doctrine  of  the  Trinity.  But  as  that  is  an  extensive  topic, 
and  its  introduction  here  would  break  the  continuity  of  the 
discourse  in  relation  to  the  attributes,  we  propose  to  postpone 
it  until  the  subject  of  the  attributes  has  been  completed. 
The  topic,  accordingly,  which  is  now  to  engage  our  attention 
is  that  division  of  the  attributes  which  is  commonly  called 
incommunicable,  and  which  we   have   seen 

Universal    and    all-  .  i  in  t  i  x 

pervajing  attributes,  ^rc  uuiversal  and  all-pervadmg,  character- 
izing alike  the  whole  being  and  every  per- 
fection of  God.  They  are  special  aspects  of  the  absolute  and 
infinite — or  rather  applications  of  the  general  notion  of  the 
infinite  to  special  aspects  in  which  God  may  be  considered. 
Contemplated  with  reference  to  the  grounds  of  His  being, 
the  infinite  gives  rise  to  the  notion  of  independence  or  self- 
existence  ;  with  reference  to  the  duration  of  His  being,  to 
eternity ;  with  reference  to  the  extent  of  His  being,  to  im- 
mensity ;  with  reference  to  the  contents  of  His  being,  to  all- 
sufficiency  ;  with  reference  to  the  identity  of  His  being,  to 
immutability.  Independence,  eternity,  immensity,  all-suf- 
ficiency and  immutability  are  therefore  the  forms  under 
which  we  recognize  the  distinctions  which  separate  God  by 
an  impassable  chasm  from  every  work  of  His  hands.  These 
are  the  badges  of  Divinity — that  glory  which  He  will  not 
and  cannot  give  to  another.     Without  these,  He  would  only 


190      INCOMMUNICABLE    ATTRIBUTES    OF    GOD.    [Lect.  VIIL 

be  a  man  or  an  angel  on  a  larger  scale.  These,  too,  consti- 
tute the  veil  which  hangs  over  the  mystery  of  His  being — a 
veil  which,  according  to  the  inscription  upon  the  temple  of 
Isis,  no  mortal  will  ever  be  able  to  remove.  We  can  only 
stand  afar  oif  and  gaze  at  the  ineffable  glory.  We  can  adore 
where  we  cannot  understand.  Let  us  treat  of  them  in  order ; 
and  first  of  Independence. 

I.  Independence,  self-existence,  necessary  existence,  ab- 
solute being,  are   only  so   many   different 

Independence.  . 

modes  of  expressing  one  and  the  same 
thing,  and  that  thing  is  the  negation  of  a  cause.  God  has 
never  begun  to  be.  His  existence  is  dependent  upon  no 
species  of  cause,  either  that  of  a  superior  will,  or  that  resulting 
from  the  union  and  combination  of  elements,  which  may 
again  be  separated  and  reduce  Him  to  nothing.  He  is  be- 
cause He  is.  "  I  am  that  I  am."  We  can  go  no  farther  in 
explaining  the  grounds  of  His  being.  The  understanding  is 
paralyzed,  but  faith  is  not  staggered.  If  there  be  caused 
The  mystery  of  ^^iug,  there  uiust  bc  uucauscd  being ;  and 
caused  and  uncaused  jf  t^q  are  disposed  to  sliriuk  from  the  mys- 
tery of  uncaused  being,  let  us  reflect  again 
and  see  whether  caused  being  is  any  more  easily  comjire- 
hended.  Can  we  solve  the  mystery  of  power  ?  Can  we  ex- 
plain how  that  which  was  nothing  ever  began  to  be  ?  Is 
not  creation  as  dark  and  inscrutable  as  underived  existence  ? 
Do  not  the  very  limits  of  our  faculties  warn  us  of  a  world 
beyond  which  those  faculties  were  never  designed  to  pene- 
trate, save  with  the  torch  of  faith  ?  The  fact  of  creation, 
the  fact  of  a  creator,  we  can  easily  grasp  ;  but  how  the  one 
came  to  be,  and  the  other  always  was,  is  beyond  our  compass. 
We  have  enough  to  regulate  our  worship,  but  not  enough  to 
satisfy  curiosity. 

There  are  modes  of  expression  in  relation  to  tlie  independ- 
ence of  God  which,  however  they  may  be 

Some  modes  of  ex-        '      j^' n     i  ^       ±^  j.        f  l  j. 

pression  criticise  1.         Justified  by  the  poverty  of  language,  are  yet 

liable  to  gross  perversion  and  abuse.     He 

is  said  to  be  the  ground  of  His  own  existence  in  a  way  which 


seems  to  imply  that  He  is  His  own  proper  cause.  Now 
self-existence  should  never  be  taken  in  a  positive,  but  a 
negative  sense.  No  being  can  originate  itself.  The  very 
notion  is  self-contradictory — for  it  involves  existence  and 
non-existence  at  the  same  time.  All  that  is  meant  is  the 
denial  to  the  being  of  any  origin  at  all.  It  has  no  cause, 
nothing  anterior  or  superior  on  which  it  depends.  Necessity 
is  also  sometimes  represented  as  a  ground  of  the  Divine 
existence,  in  such  a  way  as  to  imply  that  it  is  a  real,  pro- 
ductive cause,  or  at  least  a  something  prior  in  the  order  of 
thouo-ht  to  the  being;  of  God.  Dr.  Clarke  is  not  free  from 
censure  in  this  respect.  He  certainly  treats  necessity  as 
something  closely  akin  to  a  cause,  and  deduces  inferences 
from  it  as  if  it  were  a  positive  principle  which  we  were 
able  to  apprehend.  But  necessity,  like  existence,  is  only 
negative  in  its  application  to  God.  It  expresses  the  fact 
that,  the  finite  being  given,  we  cannot  but  think  the  existence 
of  the  infinite.  To  us,  that  existence  is  necessary  as  the  ex- 
planation of  what  is  caused  and  dependent.  The  necessity, 
however,  only  involves  again  the  denial  of  a  cause.  It  is 
simply  the  declaration  that  there  must  be  an  unoriginated 

The  independence  of  God  is  contained  in  every  argument 

Independence     in-       ^^^ich    prOVCS    His    being.       To    dcuy    it    is, 

voived  in  the  very  be-  therefore,  to  deny  the  existence  of  any 
°°         '  God  at  all.      If  all  is  dependent,  all  is 

finite,  all  is  made,  and  yet  there  is  nothing  to  depend  upon 
and  nothing  to  make.  We  shall  have  an  universe  of  crea- 
tures and  no  creator — a  chain  of  a  limited  number  of  links, 
with  nothing  to  hang  on  at  the  top  and  nothing  to  lean  on 
at  the  bottom ;  or  if  the  series  be  considered  as  infinite,  we 
shall  have  the  contradiction  of  a  whole  which  has  no  begin- 
ning made  up  of  parts  each  of  which  began.  The  first 
aspect  under  which  God  appears  to  us  in  the  field  of  specu- 
lation is  as  the  underived  and  independent.  The  mind 
seeks  an  extra-mundane  cause.  It  wants  something  to  sup- 
port the  finite,  and  it  never  rests  until  the  infinite  is  re- 


vealed  to  its  faitli.     The  Scrij)tures,  too, 

and  everywhere  pre-  i  ,  i  •      i  i 

BuppoHcdiu  Scripture,  eveijwhere  presuppose  the  independence 
of  God.  It  is  implied  in  His  name  Jeho- 
vah, in  His  being  the  Creator  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth, 
the  first  and  last,  the  beginning  and  the  end  of  all  things. 
A  point  so  plain  it  were  superfluous  to  establish  by  the 
citation  of  jDassages. 

It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  this  independence  pervades 
every  determinate  perfection  of  God  as  well 

Pervades  every  de-  tt*     i      •  tt      •     •      i  i       i    •      ^ 

terminate  perfection.  ««  ^^^^  beuig.  Hc  IS  mdcpcndent  lu  know- 
ledge ;  He  derives  nothing  from  without ; 
He  has  no  teachers ;  and  He  has  nothing  to  learn.  If  in  any 
respect  He  were  ignorant,  in  that  respect  He  would  be  de- 
pendent for  His  knowledge.  He  has  no  partners  in  coun- 
sel ;  His  wisdom  is  as  original  as  His  nature ;  and  His  power 
is  free  from  all  limitations  and  conditions.  He  does  what 
He  will  among  the  armies  of  heaven  and  the  inhabitants  of 
earth,  and  none  can  stay  His  hand  or  say  unto  Him,  What 
doest  Thou?  So,  also.  His  righteousness,  holiness,  good- 
ness and  truth  are  as  absolute  as  His  nature.  On  the  same 
ground  that  He  is  at  all,  He  is  what  He  is. 

II.  Contemj)lated  with  reference  to  the  duration  of  His 
beino;,   God    is    said   to   be  eternal.      His 

Eternity.  ■  .        -,    n         -i    ^         -r,         ^  •  i  i 

eternity  is  denned  by  iJoethius  to  be  the 
possession,  at  once  total  and  perfect,  of  an  interminable  life. 
It  is  represented  by  the  Schoolmen  as  a  stationary  point — a 
permanent  and  unchanging  now,  so  as  to  exclude  the  notions 
of  succession  and  change.  These  are  abor- 
definru."  '''°'*'  '°  tive  efforts  to  realize  in  thought  what  trans- 
cends the  conditions  of  our  consciousness. 
We  are  subject  to  the  law  of  time,  and  can  think  nothing 
apart  from  the  relation  of  time.  A  duration  which  is  not 
time  is  as  completely  beyond  our  conceptions  as  a  place 
which  is  not  space.  Even  in  regard  to  time  we  can  think 
it  only  "  as  an  indefinite  past,  present  or  future."  We  can- 
not represent  it  as  absolutely  beginning,  for  that  would  sup- 
pose a  consciousness  within  and  out  of  time  at  the  same 


moment ;  and  for  tlie  same  reason  we  cannot  suppose  it  as 
absolutely  ending.  We  cannot  think  the  indivisible  mo- 
ment, the  point  which  separates  the  past  from  the  future ; 
it  is  always  gone  before  we  can  seize  it.  Eternity  has  been 
divided  into  eternity  a  'parte  ante  and  a  2:)arte  post,  but  the 
division  evidently  involves  a  contradiction — the  contradic- 
tion of  an  eternity  begun  and  an  eternity  concluded.  We 
are  therefore  obliged  to  maintain  that  time  is  not  the  same 
as  eternity ;  and,  inconceivable  as  the  thing  is,  we  are  obliged 
to  affirm  that  eternity  admits  of  no  succession  of  parts.  It 
has  no  past,  present  or  future.  We  are  obliged  to  come  to 
the  conclusion  of  Boethius  and  the  Schoolmen,  and  yet  when 
we  have  reached  that  conclusion  what  is  it  that  we  positively 
know  ?  Nothing  but  the  fact  that  God  in  the  mode  of  His 
existence  transcends  time.  We  only  deny  to  His  conscious- 
ness and  to  His  being  the  limitations  of 

Our  conceptions  all  T>    j.         l     j.       j.         '^       •       •        -j^      li^ 

negative,  ^^^  O'wn.     But  what  ctcrmty  is  in  itself 

we  are  as  ignorant  of  as  we  were  before. 
We  deny  to  God  beginning  of  life  or  end  of  days ;  we  deny 
to  Him  succession  of  thought  or  change  of  state ;  we  deny 
to  Him  the  possibility  of  age  or  decay ;  He  is  neither  young 
nor  old.  Beyond  these  negations  we  cannot  go,  but  these 
negations  impress  us  with  the  conviction 

yet  Imply  transcend-  r»    .  i        ,  n  mr  , 

ent  excellence.  ^i  transcendciit   exccllence.      ihey  assert 

an  absolute  immortality  which  surpasses 
all  power  of  imagination  or  of  thought.  Time  with  its 
remorseless  tooth  destroys  everything  around  us ;  kingdoms 
rise  and  fall ;  generation  succeeds  generation  to  the  regions 
of  the  dead ;  trees  wither  and  fade  and  perish  -,  the  moun- 
tain falling  Cometh  to  naught ;  Nature  herself  waxes  old  and 
is  ready  to  vanish  away,  but  the  Eternal  God  remains  fixed 
in  His  being,  the  same  yesterday,  to-day  and  for  ever.  His 
years  fail  not.  He  is  always  the  great  "  I  Am."  Eternity 
is  a  mystery,  but  it  is  a  mystery  which  shrouds  and  covers 
unspeakable  glory.  How  delightful  to  think  in  the  midst 
of  universal  change  and  desolation,  that  there  is  one  Being 
who  liveth  and  abideth  for  ever — one  Being  who,  when  the 

Vol.  I.— 13 


heavens  shall  be  rolled  up  as  a  vesture,  the  sun  blotted  out, 
and  the  moon  and  stars  bereft  of  their  brightness,  can  lift 
His  awful  hand  and  swear  by  Himself,  "  Behold,  I  live  for 
ever !"  Before  the  earth  was,  or  the  stars  of  the  morning 
sang  together,  or  the  sons  of  God  shouted  for  joy,  Jehovah 
was.  Were  all  the  creatures  annihilated  by  a  single  blow, 
and  the  void  of  nothing  to  take  the  place  which  is  now 
filled  by  a  teeming  and  a  joyous  universe,  Jehovah  would 
still  be.  Above  and  beyond  time  and  all  its  phenomena, 
He  is  untouched  by  its  changes  and  disasters.  Eternity  is 
His  dwelling-place,  and  "  I  Am"  is  His  name. 

III.  Contemplated  in  reference  to  the  extent  of  His  be- 
ing, God  is  said  to  be  immense.     This  ex- 

Immeiisity,  t    •  i      • 

presses  His  relation  to  space,  as  eternity 
expresses  His  relation  to  time.  It  implies  that  God  in  the 
fullness  of  His  essence  is  present  to  every  point  of  space 

in  every  point  of  time.     Omnipresence  is 

flistineuished       from       tt-       •  •,  •  ^  t     •  ij*  i- 

omnipresence.  ^^^  immensity  coiisidcrcd  m   reiation   to 

His  creatures.  It  is  His  presence  to  them  ; 
but  as  the  created  universe  is  limited.  His  presence,  if  He  be 
infinite,  must  extend  infinitely  beyond  it.  He  is  where  the 
creatures  are,  but  He  is  also  where  creatures  never  are, 
never  have, been  and  never  Avill  be.  But  the  immensity 
of  a  simple  essence  is  as  incomprehensible  as  eternity.  We 
cannot  conceive  of  infinite  space,  much  less  can  we  conceive 
of  an  inextended  substance,  pervading  every  portion  of  this 
boundless  field  in  the  entire  plenitude  of  His  being. 

How  spirits  are  related  to  space  at  all  it  is  impossible  to 
say.      They  are  not   circumscribed   by  it 

Relation   of   spirits       ti         i       i  ,i  i  ,  r-n     •. 

to  space.  hke  body;  they  do  not  occupy  or  fall  it; 

and  yet  they  are  so  restricted  to  it  in  their 
energies  and  operations  that  we  can  properly  say  they  are 
here  and  not  there.  They  have  a  presence  of  some  kind,  as 
the  soul  is  present  in  the  body  and  the  angels  present  in 
prescribed  spheres,  necessitating  locomotion  in  enlarging  the 
area  of  their  working. 

As  God's  immensity  precludes  all  extension,  so  it  pre- 


eludes  all  mixture  with  other  objects  that  exist  in  sj)ace. 

Mixture  with  other     ^^^  ^^^^^  being  excludes  another  from  the 

objects  in  space,  pre-     same  place.     Two  souls  never  exist  in  the 

same  body,  and  two  angels  have  not  the 
same  presence  to  any  given  locality.  But  God  pervades 
every  other  being  without  mixture  or  confusion.  He  is 
as  intimately  present  to  our  own  souls  as  our  own  con- 
sciousness. He  knows  every  thought,  He  perceives  every 
desire ;  there  is  not  a  word  in  our  tongue,  but  lo  !  He  know- 
eth  it  altogether.  The  whole  universe  stands  naked  and 
bare  to  His  inspection.  And  yet  He  is  as  perfectly  distinct 
from  the  universe  and  from  every  object  in  it  as  if  He 
dwelt  in  distant  and  inaccessible  regions.  One  finite  being 
is  not  so  completely  diverse  from  another  as  God  from  every 
creature  that  He  has  made.  He  is  separated  from  the  finite 
by  a  chasm  as  boundless  as  His  immensity. 

Some  have  resolved  the  universal  presence  of  God  into 

Not  the  mere  vir-     ^^^  virtual  prcscncc  of  His  power — mean- 

tuai  presence  of  His     ing  nothing  morc  than  that  He  is  capable 

of  producing  effeists  beyond  His  own  im- 
mediate locality,  and  that  the  symbols  and  means  of  His 
authority  are  everywhere  diffused,  as  a  king  may  be  said  in 
a  modified  sense  to  be  present  in  every  part  of  his  domin- 
ions. But  such  a  presence  is  constructive,  and  to  attri- 
bute only  such  a  presence  to  God  is  to  deny  His  infinity. 
If  His  essence  sustains  not  the  same  relation  to  all  space — 
if  there  is  a  region,  no  matter  how  large,  to  which  it  is  re- 
stricted in  its  actual  being — then  God  becomes  finite  and  de- 
pendent. The  region  beyond  is  aloof  from  Him,  and  He 
can  only  act  on  it  through  instruments  and  means. 

The  Scriptures  are  abundant  in  their  references  to  this 

amazing  perfection  of  God.  "  Whither," 
^^^OTpture  testimony     ^^^^^  ^j^^  Psalmist,^  "  sliall  I  go  from  Thy 

Spirit?  or  whither  shall  I  flee  from  Thy 
presence  ?     If  I  ascend  up  into  heaven,  Thqu  art  there ;  if 
I  make  my  bed  in  hell,  behold,  Thou  art  there !     If  I  take 
1  Ps.  cxxxix.  7-10. 


the  wings  of  the  morning  and  dwell  in  the  uttermost  parts 
of  the  sea,  even  there  shall  Thy  hand  lead  me,  and  Thy 
right  hand  shall  hold  me."  "  Behold,  the  heaven  of  heavens," 
says  Solomon,^  "  cannot  contain  Thee."  "  Am  I  a  God  at 
hand,  saith  the  Lord,  and  not  a  God  afar  off?  Can  any 
hide  himself  in  secret  places  that  I  shall  not  see  him  ?  saith 
the  Lord.  Do  not  I  fill  heaven  and  earth  ?  saith  the  Lord."  ^ 
It  were  useless  to  multiply  passages.  This  is  one  of  the 
points  in  which  the  Sacred  Scriptures  show  their  immense 
superiority  to  all  the  devices  of  human  wisdom  and  policy. 
The  gods  of  the  heathen  were  all  local  deities.  They  were 
circumscribed  in  space,  and  subject  to  the  conditions  of  time 
and  matter.  It  was  reserved  for  a  rude  people,  just  escaping 
from  bondage  and  degradation,  to  reveal  a  sublimer  theology 
than  the  Porch,  Academy  or  Lyceum  ever  dreamed  of.  A 
spiritual,  eternal,  omnipresent,  infinite  God  is  the  pervading 
doctrine  of  a  race,  unskilled  in  letters  and 

and  provea  the  Bible  ,        ,  i  ,  i  •     ,  j  • 

to  be  not  of  man.  coustautly  prouc  to  rclapsc  mto  supersti- 

tion.    How  clear  the  proof  that  the  Bible 
is  no  contrivance  of  man  ! 

It  may  be  well  to  remark  that,  besides  the  essential  pres- 
„     . ,  .       ence,  the  Scriptures  sometimes  speak  of  a 

Special     sense     in  '  1  i 

which  God  is  said  to  prcscuce  wliicli  cousists  in  peculiar  mani- 
festations of  the  Divine  favour  or  anger. 
In  the  first  sense  God  was  present  in  the  Jewish  temple. 
He  there  manifested  His  mercy  and  grace  to  the  j^eople.  It 
was  there  He  showed  Himself  pleased  with  their  worship, 
and  answered  the  prayers  and  intercessions  they  made  to 
Him.  In  this  sense,  too,  He  is  present  in  heaven.  He 
there  communicates  to  saints  and  angels  the  richest  tokens 
of  His  love.  They  have  free  and  undisturbed  communion 
with  Him  as  the  Father  of  their  spirits.  In  the  second 
sense  He  is  present  in  hell.  He  there  reveals  the  tokens 
of  His  justice.  The  impenitent  and  devils  are  made  to  feel 
the  Avcight  of  His  displeasure  against  sin.  And  so  God  is 
said  to  withdraw  Himself  and  to  hide  His  face ;  not  that 
1  1  Kings  viii.  27.  ^  Jer.  xxiii.  23,  24. 


His  essential  presence  is  diminished,  but  the  marks  of  His 

favour  are  withheld.     He  ceases  to  show  Himself  proj)itious. 

The  immensity,  like  the  eternity  of  God,  transcends  all 

finite  conception,  but  as  a  regulative  fact  it 

Practical  uses  of  the       '        i*   ,i  ,  ,    •  .  mii  -j 

doctrine.  IS  of  the  utuiost  nnportancc.     io  the  samt 

it  is  full  of  comfort.  He  can  never  be  re- 
moved beyond  the  reach  of  his  Redeemer  and  his  Friend. 
Go  where  he  may,  he  is  still  surrounded  with  God,  who 
compasses  him  before  and  behind,  and  lays  His  hand  upon 
him.  He  knows  our  hearts  infinitely  better  than  we  know 
them  ourselves.  Those  desires  which  we  cannot  utter,  and 
those  penitent  distresses  which  can  only  reveal  themselves  in 
tears  and  groans,  He  thoroughly  comprehends.  Our  whole 
hearts  are  before  Him  in  the  nakedness  of  a  perfect,  infallible 
intuition.  He  understands  our  wants,  appreciates  our  weak- 
ness and  can  accommodate  His  grace  precisely  to  our  case. 
Men  may  misconstrue  us ;  they  may  impugn  our  motives, 
traduce  our  characters  and  assail  us  with  unjust  reproaches; 
how  delightful  the  truth  that  there  is  One  who  knows  us, 
and  who  will  bring  forth  our  righteousness  as  the  light,  and 
our  judgment  as  the  noonday  !  What  a  rebuke,  too,  is  this 
truth  to  every  species  of  hypocrisy !  How  idle  to  think  of 
concealment  from  Him  to  whom  the  night  is  even  as  the 
day,  darkness  as  transparent  as  light !  And  what  a  check 
should  it  be  to  wickedness  that  we  are  ever  with  God — that 
there  is  no  darkness  or  shadow  of  death  whither  we  can 
escape  from  His  presence.  He  pursues  us  more  closely  than 
our  own  shadows  in  the  sun.  He  is  with  us  in  the  very 
depths  of  our  soul,  in  the  most  secret  recesses  of  our  con- 
sciousness. Awake  or  asleep,  at  home  or  abroad,  in  sickness 
or  in  health,  by  land  or  sea,  we  are  still  with  God.  Such 
knowledge  is  too  wonderful  for  us ;  it  is  high,  we  cannot  at- 
tain unto  it.  Hence,  too,  under  the  Gospel,  prayer  can  be 
made  everywhere,  for  everywhere  the  ears  of  the  Eternal 
are  open.  It  is  no  longer  at  Jerusalem,  nor  yet  at  Gerizim  ; 
but  in  every  spot  of  earth  trodden  by  the  foot  of  man  true 
worship  may  be  offered,  if  offered  in  the  name  of  Christ. 


The  whole  earth  has  become  a  temjDle,  and  every  place  a 
place  for  prayer. 

IV.  We  come  next  to  the  all-sufficiency  of  God,  which  is 
the  infinite  and  absolute  considered  with  ref- 

AU-sufficiency.  /.    i       -i-v*     •  -r»    • 

erence  to  the  contents  oi  the  Uivine  ±>eing. 
It  means  that  God  contains  within  Himself  the  fullness  of 
perfection  and  blessedness — that  nothing  can  be  taken  from 
Him  and  nothing  added  to  Him.     He  is  His  own  satisfying 
portion,  and  the  end  and  portion  of  all  His 
tuSortreLnlyelr"     intelligent  creatures.     He  can  never  want ; 
he  can  never  be  subject  to  unsatisfied  de- 
sire ;  he  can  never  be  disturbed  by  care  or  solicitude.     He  is 
the  jDcrfect  good.     All  the  perfections  of  all  the  creatures 
are  in  Him,  formally,  eminently  or  virtually.     Let  me  ex- 
plain these  terms.     Perfections,  according 

Scholastic  terms  ex-       ■.icill  T'lJ'xx 

pij^ijjgjj  to  the  bchoohnen,  were  divided  into  two 

classes,  those  that  were  absolutely  simple — 
shnplidter  simpUces — and  those  that  were  only  relative  per- 
fections, or  perfections  secundum  quid,  called  also  mixed. 
An  absolute  jjerfection  had  no  imperfection  in  it,  and  is  bet- 
ter than  its  opposite,  or  than  any  other  thing  with  which  it 
is  incompatible  in  the  same  subject.  These  perfections  in 
their  own  formal  and  essential  nature,  abstracted  from  the 
conditions  under  which  they  manifest  themselves  in  us,  are 
predicated  of  God,  and  are  therefore  said  to  be  formcdiy  in 
Him.  Mixed  perfections  have  an  element  of  imperfection 
in  them ;  they  are  only  relative  to  certain  kinds  of  things, 
and  are  called  perfections  because  these  things  admit  nothing 
higher  and  better.  They  would  cease  to  be  what  they  are 
if  adorned  with  higher  and  better.  Human  reason,  human 
will,  human  intelligence  are  relative  perfections,  but  they 
are  mixed  with  limitation  and  defect.  The  properties  of 
gold  with  reference  to  that  metal  are  perfections,  but  they 
are  not  simply  better  than  other  qualities  with  which  in  gold 
they  cannot  co-exist.  Now  those  perfections  which  are  im- 
perfect by  limitation  and  defect  are  predicated  of  God  in 
the  way  of  eminence — that  is,  they  exist  in  Him  in  a  higher 

Lect.  yill.J    INCOMMUNICABLE   ATTRIBUTES   OF   GOD.      199 

degree  and  more  eminent  degree.  Perfections  which  are 
purely  relative,  purely  secundum  quid,  neither  formally  nor 
eminently  exist  in  God ;  they  are  only  in  Him  as  in  His 
230wer  to  produce  them,  and  are  therefore  said  to  be  vir- 
tually in  Him.^  In  this  way  God  is  made  to  contain  the 
23lenitude  of  the  universe.  His  being  is  absolutely  ex- 
haustless  in  its  contents,  sufficient  for  Himself  and  sufficient 
for  all  the  creatures. 

Here,  too,  is  a  truth  too  mighty  for  the  grasp  of  our  in- 
tellects, and  yet  of  the  utmost  consequence 

Value  of  this  truth.  '  .  .        ,  „     „  ,   ,  t-       • 

as  a  regulative  principle  of  faith.  It  is 
this  infinite  fullness  of  God  that  makes  Him  the  end  and 
felicity  of  the  creature.  Poor  in  ourselves,  Avithout  strength, 
without  resources,  feeble  as  a  reed,  and  easily  crushed  before 
the  moth,  we  are  yet  rich  and  valiant  and  mighty  in  God. 
We  have  treasures  which  can  never  be  consumed,  resources 
which  can  never  be  exhausted,  and  strength  which  can  never 
fail.  With  the  everlasting  God  as  our  refuge  we  can  bid 
defiance  to  the  universe  besides.  Though  the  earth  be  re- 
moved and  though  the  mountains  be  carried  into  the  midst 
of  the  sea,  though  the  waters  thereof  roar  and  be  troubled, 
though  the  mountains  shake  with  the  swelling  thereof,  yet 
we  need  not  fear.  Nothing  can  be  lost  so  long  as  God  re- 
mains our  friend.     He  is  all  in  all. 

V.  We  come  now  to  consider  the  infinite  and  absolute 

Avith  reference   to  the  permanent  identity 

Immutability.  p  /-*     -ii      y      •  ni- 

or  God  s  being,  and  this  gives  rise  to  the 
notion  of  immutability.  Immutability  is  indeed  pnly  an- 
other form  of  asserting  the  simplicity  and  oneness  of  the 
infinite.  That  which  never  began  and  can  never  end,  to 
which  nothing  can  be  added  and  from  which  nothing  can  be 
taken,  which  knows  na  succession  and  is  dependent  upon 
nothing  without,  is  evidently  incapable  of  change.  Change 
implies  succession,  and  is  possible  only  to  a  being  conditioned 
by  time ;  change  implies  causation,  and  is  possible  only  to  a 
being  limited  and  dependent ;  change  implies  addition  or 
^  Cf.  Perrone,  also  De  Moor,  c.  iv.,  §  18. 


subtraction,  and  is  possible  only  to  the  defective  or  super- 
fluous. The  complete,  the  perfect,  is  beyond  its  reach. 
Change  is  either  from  better  to  worse  or  from  worse  to  bet- 
ter, and  is  grossly  incompatible  with  the  notion  of  the  infi- 
nite, which  contains  the  absolute  fullness  of  perfection.  This 
truth,  self-evident  in  itself,  if  the  notion 

Self-evident,  yet  also  i»  j.1.      •    £     -x     l_  xi  x*  t  i 

Bet  forth  in  Scriptme.  «!  ^^le  mfinitc  has  cveu  the  negative  valid- 
ity which  must  certainly  be  assigned  to  it, 
is  abundantly  proclaimed  in  Scripture :  "  For  I  am  the 
Lord ;  I  change  not ;  therefore  ye  sons  of  Jacob  are  not 
consumed."^  "Of  old  hast  Thou  laid  the  foundation  of 
tlie  earth,  and  the  heavens  are  the  work  of  Thy  hands. 
They  shall  perish,  but  Thou  shalt  endure ;  yea,  all  of  them 
shall  wax  old  like  a  garment,  as  a  vesture  shalt  Thou  change 
them,  and  they  shall  be  changed ;  but  Thou  art  the  same, 
and  Thy  years  shall  have  no  end."^  "God  is  not  a  man 
that  He  should  lie,  neither  the  son  of  man  that  He  should 
repent ;  hath  He  said,  and  shall  He  not  do  it,  or  hath  He 
spoken,  and  shall  He  not  make  it  good"?^  "Every  good 
gift  and  every  perfect  gift  is  from  above,  and  cometh  down 
from  the  Father  of  lights,  with  whom  is  no  variableness, 
neither  shadow  of  turning."  *  "  Jesus  Christ,  the  same  yes- 
terday, and  to-day,  and  for  ever."  *  "  The  counsel  of  the 
Lord  standeth  for  ever ;  the  thoughts  of  His  heart  to  all 
generations."  ^ 

The  absolute  immutability  of  God  seems  to  be  contradicted 
by  the  fict  of  creation.  A  new  relation  was 
.£:il^:T  certainly  superinduced._  The  answer  com- 
monly  given  is :  Relations  ad  extra  imply 
no  change  in  the  essence  related ;  God  acquires  a  new  de- 
nomination, but  no  new  accession  to  His  being ;  the  title 
Creator  imports  no  addition  to  His  nature ;  the  only  real 
change  in  the  case  takes  place  in  the  creatures  which  pass 
from  nonentity  to  being.  But  the  question  is,  whether  there 
is  not  a  modification  of  the  Divine  will  in  passing  from  non- 

1  Mai.  iii.  6.  «  Ps.  cii.  25,  26.  ^  Num.  xxiii.  19. 

*  James  i.  17.  *  Heb.  xiii.  8.  ^  Ps.  xxxiii.  11. 


creation  to  creation.  The  universe  began,  and  wlien  it  began 
by  the  fiat  of  the  Almighty,  was  not  His  will  diiferently 
determined  from  what  it  was  before  ?  This  difficulty  we 
conceive  it  impossible  to  answer.  To  say  that  He  willed 
from  eternity  to  create  just  when  He  did — that  the  purpose 
included  the  time  and  mode  of  its  execution — does  not  solve 
the  problem.  A  will  to  create  and  a  will  creating  do  not 
seem  to  be  the  same.  It  is  true  that  the  universe  adds  no- 
thing to  God  and  takes  nothing  from  Him ;  but  does  not 
This  question  not  to  ^^c  crcatiou  of  the  universe  imply  a  new  de- 
be  solved,  by  reason  of     termination  of  His  will  ?     This  is  one  of 

our  ignorance.  ,  .  i  •    i  •      i 

the  questions  which  remind  us  of  our  igno- 
rance whenever  we  undertake  to  speculate  on  the  absolute. 
"VVe  shall  meet  it  again  when  we  come  to  the  doctrine  of 
creation.  In  the  mean  time,  let  us  be  content  to  acknowledge 
that  our  j^owers  are  not  commensurate  with  the  domain  of 

It  has  also  been  contended  that  the  Divine  essence  was 

The  Divine  essence     modified   by  the  incarnation  of  the   Son. 

not  modified  by  the     But  tlic  iucamation  was  only  a  new  mani- 

Incarnation,  .  n   r^      -i         -r         itti. 

testation  ot  (jrocl.  It  added  nothing  to  the 
essence  of  the  Logos,  into  Personal  union  with  whom  the 
humanity  was  apprehended. 

The  changes  which  take  place  in  the  universe  are  no 

proof  of  the  mutability  of  God,  for  to  will 
thlunivers^ ''°^*'^'°     cliaiiges,  and  to   change   the  will,   are,  as 

Turrettin^  very  justly  remarks,  very  dif- 
ferent things. 

Those   passages    of    Scripture   which   represent   God   as 

changing  His  mind  or  purpose,  as  repenting 

Scriptures  wliich  as-  -i  ...  -■  .        .  , ,  , 

cribe  change  to  God.  aucl  regretting  and  grieving,  are  all  to  be 
interpreted  as  other  anthropomorphisms. 
They  express  no  change  in  God,  but  a  change  in  the  events 
of  His  providence — a  change  analogous  to  tliat  which  would 
be  produced  in  us  under  the  influence  of  these  feelings. 
They  are  condescensions  of  the  Divine  Teacher  to  our  narrow 
1  Loc.  iii.,  Qu.  11,  §  7. 


capacities ;  and  as  they  are  so  thoroughly  guarded  from 
abuse,  they  are  admirably  adapted  to  give  vivacity  and  em- 
phasis to  the  real  idea  they  are  intended  to  convey.  It  is 
indeed  one  of  the  marks  of  the  divinity  of  Scripture  that  it 
can  thus  venture  to  clothe  God  in  the  forms  of  earth  without 
depressing  His  majesty  or  marring  His  glory.  No  human 
author  could  have  ventured  on  such  a  style  without  incurring 
the  certain  risk  of  degrading  the  Almighty. 

I  need  not  add  that  the  immutability  of  God  is  the  foun- 
dation of  all  our  hopes.     It  is  here  that  the 
ourTrpt^s'"""  °'  "^^     heirs  of  the  promise  have  strong  consola- 
tion.    He  can  never  deceive  us  in  the  ex- 
pectations which  He  excites.     He  never  falls  short  of,  but 
often  goes  immeasurably  beyond,  what  He  had  led  us  to  ex- 
pect.    Here  is  the  pledge  of  His  faithfulness, — He  can  never 
change ;  His  counsel  shall  stand,  and  He  will  do  all  His 
pleasure.     The  impenitent,  too,  may  be  assured  that,  with- 
out a  change  in  them,  the  threatenings  of 
His  M^ord  will  be  infallibly  executed.     He 
will  by  no  means  clear  the  guilty.     He  can  never  be  induced 
to  countenance  or  to  tolerate  sin.     All  efforts  to  secure  His 
favour  Avhile  we   cling  to  our  lusts  are  only  insults  to  His 
character,  which  represent  Him  as  capable  of  being  soothed 
by  flattery  or  bribed  by  rewards.     It  is  the  misery  of  sin 
that  it  makes  God  altogether  such  an  one  as  we  ourselves. 
It  forgets  His  glory,  and  changes  it  into  a  lie. 

It  is  delightful,  too,  to  think  that  the  immutability  of  God 
is  the  immutability  of  wisdom  and  goodness 
."dneilandTr^     and  truth.     It  is  no  blind  fate  utterly  re- 
gardless  of  all  moral   distinctions.     It   is 
rectitude  itself  ever  abiding  one  and  the  same,  and  rendering 
to  all  according  to  their  dues.     Injustice  can  never  enter  the 
government  of  such  a  God.     All  will  at  length  prove  well. 
I  have  now  briefly  and  rapidly  surveyed  those  attributes 
which  characterize  God  as  the  Infinite  and  Absolute.     I 
have  contemplated  Him  in  relation  to  the  grounds,  the  du- 
ration, the  extent,  the  contents  and  the  identity  of  His  being. 


and  have  reached  results  which  we  are  constrained  to  accept 
as  facts,  but  which  we  are  wholly  incompetent  to  explain. 
These  are  the  attributes  which  distinguish  God ;  it  is  these 
which  render  every  other  perfection  Divine.  To  deny  any 
one  of  them  is  to  deny  all,  and  to  reduce  existence  to  the 
limited  and  contingent. 

I  cannot  close  without  pointing  out  the  immeasurable  dis- 
parity which  this  subject  reveals  between 
Go^Td  the  creaTum  ^lic  uiost  cxaltcd  crcaturc  in  the  universe 
and  its  infinite  creator.  The  tallest  angel 
has  only  a  derived  existence — it  is  absolutely  dependent  upon 
the  will  of  God.  It  sprang  from  a  cause,  and  subsists  only 
in  its  cause.  There  was  a  time  when  it  was  not ;  it  could 
again  cease  to  be  if  God  should  so  decree.  Whatever  in- 
crease it  has  made  in  knowledge,  power  or  excellence,  it  is 
no  nearer  to  independence  to-day  than  when  the  light  of  con- 
sciousness was  first  kindled  within  it.  But  how  different 
with  God  !  He  leans  u2)on  nothing.  He  lives  no  borroAved 
life.  He  asks  no  leave  to  be.  He  is  because  He  is.  His 
throne  is  stable  as  eternity.  His  being  immovable  as  des- 
tiny. Strike  out  all  the  creatures,  and  He  still  is — glorious, 
holy,  majestic  and  blessed  as  when  the  morning  stars  sang 
together  and  the  sons  of  God  shouted  for  joy.  The  universe 
has  added  nothing  to  His  bliss  and  can  subtract  nothing  from 
His  fullness.  Think,  too,  of  an  underived  knowledge — a 
knowledge  which  was  never  acquired ;  which  came  from  no 
impressions  from  without ;  which  admits  of  no  reasoning,  of 
no  memory,  of  no  succession  of  ideas !  Whence  came  this 
knowledge?  Thought  reels  and  staggers  at  the  problem, 
and  can  only  answer  that  it  is  like  His  being,  independent 
and  original ;  He  knows  because  He  knows.  Think,  again, 
of  its  extent — all  beings,  all  possible  things,  all  the  vicissi- 
tudes of  all  the  histories  of  all  worlds — the  whole  universe, 
with  all  its  events  from  the  first  dawn  of  creation  through 
the  endless  cycle  of  ages, — all  this  present  to  His  infinite 
consciousness  with  an  intuition  easier  and  simpler  than  the 
simplest  perception  of  sight.     The  ages  are  but  an  instant. 

204      INCOMMUNICABLE    ATTRIBUTES    OF   GOD.    [Lect.  VIII. 

and  creation  but  a  point.  How  little  are  we  compared  with 
such  a  God  !  Think,  too,  of  an  underived  power — a  power 
to  which  there  is  nothing  difficult ;  to  which  it  is  as  easy  to 
create  a  world  as  to  move  a  feather,  to  uphold  all  things  as 
to  speak  a  word.  The  universe  lies  in  His  hands  as  nothing ; 
the  nations  are  the  small  dust  of  the  balance.  He  taketh  up 
the  isles  as  a  very  little  thing.  He  speaks  and  it  is  done. 
He  commands  and  it  stands  fast.  What  is  man,  what  is  an 
angel,  what  is  a  seraph,  compared  to  a  being  like  this  ? 

In  the  next  place,  let  us  consider  the  disparity  in  the  du- 
ration of  His  existence.  We  are  of  yesterday,  and  know 
nothing ;  our  age  is  but  a  span,  our  days  but  a  hand-breadth. 
We  come  forth  in  the  morning,  disappear  in  the  evening, 
and  straight  are  seen  no  more.  But  from  everlastino;  to 
everlasting  the  God  that  made  us  abides  the  same.  Before 
time  began  He  was ;  and  when  time  shall  cease  He  will 
still  be.  Nothing  can  touch  His  being,  for  Eternity  is  His 
dwelling-place.  The  earth  has  existed  for  ages  which  defy 
all  calculation ;  it  has  witnessed  stupendous  changes ;  it  is 
destined  to  witness  more ;  yet  there  was  a  time  when  there 
was  no  earth,  no  sun,  no  moon,  no  stars,  no  angel,  no  man. 
But  there  never  was  a  time  when  there  was  no  God.  We 
pass  from  infancy  to  age ;  we  add  month  to  month  and  year 
to  year.  But  God  has  no  age.  He  is  no  older  now  than 
millions  and  billions  of  years  before  time  began  to  roll.  In 
undecaying  vigour  He  ever  and  ever  abides.  What  a  being 
is  God ! 

Think,  besides,  of  His  immensity.  Here  we  are  confined 
to  a  spot  of  earth.  Our  being  is  limited  to  a  narrow  sphere. 
We  cannot  stretch  ourselves  to  the  regions  beyond.  We  are 
fixed  to  our  places.  But  where  is  the  place  of  God "?  Where 
are  the  limits  that  circumscribe  His  being  ?  Where  is  the 
point  of  space  that  eludes  the  scrutiny  of  His  eye  ?  Go  to 
the  eternal  snows  of  the  north,  the  burning  deserts  of  the 
tropics ;  climb  from  world  to  world  and  from  sun  to  sun  ;  or 
sink  even  to  the  deep  vault  of  hell — everywhere  you  shall 
meet  God.     It  is  His  hand  that  sustains  the  mountains.  His 

Lect.  yiii.]  incommunicable  attributes  of  god.    205 

breath  that  scorches  the  desert,  and  His  arm  that  upholds 
the  worlds.  Surely  we  may  ask  with  the  Psalmist,  What 
is  man  that  Thou  art  mindful  of  him,  or  the  son  of  man  that 
Thou  visitest  him  ?  We  are  indeed  as  vanity  and  less  than 
nothing  in  His  sight. 

Think,  too,  of  His  all-sufficiency.  His  infinite  fullness, 
the  boundless  wealth  of  His  being.  He  needs  nothing. 
He  has  no  occasion  to  go  beyond  Himself  for  absolute  bless- 
edness. In  the  person  of  the  Trinity  is  a  glorious  society ; 
in  the  infinite  perfections  of  His  essence  is  perfect  good. 
He  can  receive  nothing  from  the  creature,  for  it  is  only  a 
faint  reflection  of  Himself.  How  diiferent  is  man — poor, 
feeble,  dependent  man  !  We  have  nothing  that  we  can  call 
our  own.  The  breath  we  breathe  is  borrowed ;  we  live  only 
as  we  are  kept.  The  treasures  we  have  to-day  may  be  gone 
to-morrow;  we  are  the  sport  of  accident  and  chance.  A 
straw  can  wound  us,  a  fly  can  kill  us.  If  you  add  to  all 
this  the  immutability  of  God,  and  then  consider  our  chang- 
ing and  fitful  history,  the  contrast  is  complete  betwixt  us 
and  the  Author  of  our  being. 

With  such  an  immense  disparity  how  al^surd  in  us  to 
Rebuke  of  airo-  tkiuk  of  Comprehending  the  plans  of  the 
gance,  cavilling  and  Almighty !  How  arrogaut  to  arraign  His 
wisdom  at  our  bar !  We  presume  to  sit  in 
judgment  upon  His  schemes,  we  question  the  arrangements 
of  His  providence,  we  cavil  at  the  unequal  distribution  of 
His  favours,  we  complain  that  the  world  might  have  been 
made  better,  and  we  murmur  and  repine  when  our  own  lit- 
tle plans  are  crossed  or  disappointed.  But  who  are  we  that 
presume  to  rise  against  God  ?  What  wisdom  is  that  which 
ventures  to  condemn  the  counsel  of  the  Holy  One  ?  Who 
is  this  that  darkeneth  counsel  by  words  without  knowledge  ? 
Let  us  learn  the  lesson  of  our  ignorance,  and  where  we  can- 
not understand,  let  us  not  be  tempted  to  censure  or  repine. 
It  is  enough  that  God  does  it.  That  word  God  is  a  guar- 
antee that  all  is  right. 



THE  fact  of  creation  is  vital  in  Theology,  as  upon  it  de- 
pends the  question  of  the  relation  betwixt  the  world  and 
God,  and  even  of  the  absoluteness  and  independence  of  the 

Divine  Being.  There  are  but  five  conceiv- 
po^Tser'"''"'''"     ^ible  hypotheses  upon  which  the  relations 

of  the  finite  and  infinite  can  be  adjusted. 
The  first  is  that  of  the  Atheists,  which  denies  the  existence 
of  the  infinite,  and  acknowledges  the  reality  only  of  the 
world ;  the  second  is  that  of  the  Eleatics,  which  denies  the 
existence  of  the  world,  and  admits  only  the  reality  of  the 
infinite ;  the  third  is  that  of  the  Pantheists,  who  admit  both, 
but  resolve  them  into  unity  by  making  them  phenomenal 
modifications  of  the  same  substsinae ;  the  fourth  is  that  of 
the  Dualists,  who  recognize  two  eternal  substances,  mind  and 
matter,  of  which  the  one  is  essentially  passive,  the  other 
active ;  and  the  fifth  and  last  is  that  of  a  genuine  Theism, 
which  makes  God  the  creator  of  the  world,  and  makes  the 
world  a  real  thing,  separate  and  distinct  from  God.     We 

may  here  discount  the  first  two  hypotheses 
The  first  two  dis-     ^^  havius^  in  our  times  no  advocates  who  are 

counted ;  o 

entitled  to  much  consideration.  But  it  is 
clear  that  Dualism  is  inconsistent  with  the  infinity  and 
absoluteness  of  the  Supreme  Being.  If  matter  exist  inde- 
pendently of  Him,  His  knowledge  of  its  laws  and  proper- 
ties has  been  acquired.  He  has  had  to  learn  them.  His 
power,  too,  like  that  of  man,  is  conditioned  by  the  nature 
of  the  material  upon  which  He  has  to  work.  Like  ours  it 

Lect.  IX.]  CREATIOX.  207 

is  the  handmaid  of  knowledge,  and  consists  in  obedience  to 
laws  that  He  has  discovered.  The  eternity  of  matter  evi- 
dently, then,  reduces  God  to  the  category  of  the  finite,  the 
limited,  the  conditioned.  He  ceases  to  be  self-sufficient. 
He  ceases,  in  other  words,  to  be  God.  He  may  be  a  skil- 
ful workman,  an  admirable  contriver,  a  wonderful  mechanic, 
but  all  in  consequence  of  acquired  knowledge.  He  is  a  man 
on  a  large  scale.  Dualism,  therefore,  is  disguised  Atheism. 
Hence  creation  is  invested  with  so  much  importance  in  the 
Scriptures.  God  is  everywdiere  presented  in  them  as  the 
Creator  of  the  w^orld,  and  not  as  the  skilful  architect  of 
nature.     This  hypothesis  of  Dualism  may, 

also  the  fourth.  it  t  .it 

consequently,  be  discounted  as  essentially 
Atheistic.  The  only  scheme  inconsistent  with  creation 
which  remains  is  that  of  Pantheism.  This  is  the  prevail- 
ing tendency  of  modern  philosophy.  If 
PanthcTstic!'  '  °^°^  ^^  wc  admit  both  the  finite  and  the  infinite,  it 
is  clear  that  they  must  either  be  the  same 
or  different.  There  is  no  medium.  The  Pantheist  affirms 
that  they  are  the  same ;  the  Theist  that  they  are  different. 
The  Pantheist  resolves  the  finite  into  a  phenomenon  of  the 
infinite ;  it  is  its  mode  of  appearing  or  of  manifestation. 
The  Theist  affirms  that  it  is  a  different  thing— a  real  sub- 
stance, separate  and  distinct  from  the  eternal  and  infinite 
substance.  The  natural  impressions  of  the  mind  are  in 
favour  of  Theism.  It  is  only  the  difficulties  which  are  en- 
countered in  the  problem  of  Creation  that  have  driven  ■ 
modern  speculation  into  Pantheism,  as  it  drove  the  ancient 
philosophers  into  Dualism. 

The  fundamental  postulate  of  Pantheism  is  that  creation 
is  impossible — that  it  is  self-contradictory 

Fundamental  postu-  i      i  i         -r»  on'  •^  -t/ 

late  of  Pantheism.  aud  absui'd.  Bccauseof  the  impossibility 
of  creation,  and  only  because  of  it,  has  the 
hypothesis  been  invented  wdiich  seems  most  naturally  to 
account  for  the  facts  of  consciousness  in  default  of  creation. 
If  now  this  postulate  of  the  Pantheist  is  rashly  assumed, 
if  it  can  be  shown  that  creation  involves  no  contradiction 

208  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

and  terminates  in  no  absurdity,  then  it  must  be  conceived 
as  established.  If  speculation  cannot  refute  it,  as  the  most 
natural  and  consistent  scheme  it  must  be  admitted.  The 
question,  therefore,  which  vre  have  to  resolve  is  simply 
whether  creation  is  possible.  Let  us  examine  the  process 
by  which  the  Pantheist  reaches  a  negative  answer. 

1.  Creation,  it  is  said,  involves  the   notion   of  making 
„  ,,.       „  „   ,,        somethino;  out  of  nothino;.     It  makes  that 

Outline  of  Panthe-  &  o 

istic  objections  to  ere-  to  be  wliicli  had  uo  being  before.  Nothing 
is  therefore  a  material  upon  which  one 
works — a  subject  about  which  an  agency  is  employed.  Now 
this  is  self-contradictory.  To  be  a  material  or  subject  of 
operation  is  already  to  be  something.  The  maxim  is  self- 
evident  that  out  of  nothing  nothing  can  be  made.  But  if 
we  look  to  our  notion  of  poioer,  Ave  shall  see  that  it  excludes 
the  notion  of  creation.  We  know  power  from  its  effects,  and 
all  effects  with  which  we  are  acquainted  are  mere  changes  in 
existing  objects.  To  produce  without  a  pre-existing  mate- 
rial, to  work  without  something  to  work  upon,  is  an  anomaly 
which  no  experience  either  of  what  passes  within  or  without 
us  justifies  us  in  asserting.  In  fact,  we  can  attach  no  mean- 
ing to  the  words. 

2.  The  second  objection  is  drawn  from  the  nature  of  God 
as  implying  plenitude  of  being.  He  is  the  sum-total  of 
reality.  As  the  fullness  of  being  He  must  be  one — He  must 
exclude  all  other  realities.  If  you  admit  the  existence  of 
another  real  being,  separate  and  distinct  from  God,  you 
might  conceive  that  being  added  to  God,  and  then  God  is 
not  the  all.  As  far  forth  as  the  other  being  has  reality,  God 
is  wanting  in  omnitude  of  being.  The  all  must  be  one,  per- 
fect and  complete.  Nothing  can  be  added  to  it,  nothing 
taken  from  it.  Hence  real  existence  admits  no  distinction 
of  plurality  and  difference. 

3.  A  third  objection  is  drawn  from  the  will  of  God.  If 
creation  be  supposed,  God  created  either  necessarily  or  freely. 
If  necessarily,  then  the  world  would  seem  to  be  part  of  Him- 
self.    There  was  no  foreign  impulse  to  determine  His  will, 

Lect.  IX.]  CREATION.  209 

and  a  necessity  ab  intra  would  seem  to  terminate  upon  His 
own  being.  Again,  if  the  world  be  admitted  as  separate  and 
distinct  from  God,  a  necessitating  influence  ad  extra  would 
be  a  determination  of  the  Divine  being  inconsistent  with  Plis 
all-sufficiency  and  His  unconditional  absoluteness.  It  is  the 
same  as  to  condition  Him  from  without. 

But  if  tliis  difficulty  were  obviated,  we  are  perplexed  to 
understand  how  the  will  of  God  can  be  determined  to  the 
contingent,  the  finite,  the  imperfect.  If  the  world  be  a  free 
product,  its  being  limited  and  conditioned  would  make  the 
limited  and  conditioned  both  objects  of  the  Divine  knowledge 
and  of  the  Divine  will,  either  of  which  would  seem  to  imply 
an  imperfection.  We  cannot  understand  how  God  can  will 
anything  but  the  infinite  and  eternal. 

Further,  if  the  will  of  God  be  eternal,  the  world  must  be 
eternal,  or  an  interval  has  elapsed  betwixt  the  will  and  the 
execution.  That  interval  implies  succession,  consequently 
change,  and  consequently  a  denial  of- God's  eternity.  The 
will  and  its  execution  must  co-exist.  If  the  will  existed  only 
when  creation  began,  then  there  was  something  new  in  God. 
Hence  the  world  must  be  eternal.  Besides,  all  duration  is 
the  same.  There  is  no  reason  why  creation  should  have 
taken  place  when  it  did,  rather  than  earlier  or  later.  No 
reason  for  preference  can  be  found  in  the  duration.  There- 
fore, to  select  one  point  of  time  rather  than  another,  when 
the  claims  of  all  time  were  exactly  equal,  is  to  attribute  to 
God  an  arbitrary  proceeding,  a  will  without  wisdom.  Hence 
creation  must  be  eternal.  On  the  same  ground  it  must  be 
infinite  in  space.  All  the  parts  of  space  are  equal.  No 
motive  can  be  conceived  for  selecting  one  part  rather  than 
another,  and  to  avoid  an  empty  choice  we  must  project  cre- 
ation in  the  whole  void. 

Again,  if  God  has  freely  created  the  world.  He  desired  it. 
Will  without  motive  is  inconceivable.  Upon  this  supposition 
we  have  two  difficulties  :  (1.)  That  an  infinitely  perfect  and 
blessed  being  should  desire  the  imperfect  and  limited.  This 
seems  to  us  to  be  a  degradation — a  letting  Himself  down 

Vol.  I.— 14 

210  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

from  the  heights  of  His  felicity.  (2.)  If  the  world  be  not 
eternal,  and  yet  has  been  an  object  of  Divine  desire,  that  de- 
sire, having  been  eternal,  is  a  confession  in  God  of  eternal 
want.     Hence,  He  is  not  all-sufficient. 

Further  still,  the  world  has  been  created  either  perfect 
or  imperfect.  If  perfect,  it  has  fullness  of  being  in  itself, 
and  there  is  no  need  for  God.  If  imperfect,  all  the  difficulties 
connected  with  a  world  beginning  in  time,  limited  in  space, 
conditioned  in  being,  emerge. 

4.  To  these  difficulties  must  be  added  those  which  spring 
from  the  existence  of  evil,  of  positive  disorder,  crime  and 
misery  in  the  world.  These  evils  seem  to  be  utterly  incon- 
sistent either  with  the  benevolence  or  the  omnipotence  of 
God.  He  could  either  have  prevented  them  or  He  could 
not.  If  He  could  have  done  it  and  refused.  He  is  not  abso- 
lutely good ;  if  He  would  have  done  it  but  could  not.  He  is 
not  all-powerful.     In  either  case  He  ceases  to  be  God. 

This  is  the  brief  outline  of  the  arguments  against  the 
possibility  of  creation,  as  they  are  very  clearly  and  felici- 
tously stated  by  Jules  Simon  in  his  spirited  little  book  on 
natural  religion.^ 

Of  these  four  classes  of  arguments  this  general  criticism 
may  be  made,  that  they  labour  under  the 

Capital  vice   of  all  'j.    ^        '  r      ±±  ±'  ^       i     •  'xi  • 

these  arguments.  Capital  vicc  of  attcmptuig  to  bmig  withm 

the  forms  of  the  understanding  what  tran- 
scends the  capacity  of  thought.  They  assume  the  infinite, 
the  unconditioned,  the  absolutely  perfect,  as  a  thing  about 
which  we  are  as  competent  to  speculate  as  the  facts  of  expe- 
rience. •  They  bring  it  into  the  relations  and  under  the 
conditions  of  our  faculties  of  knowledge  without  being  con- 
scious that  the  very  circumstance  of  subjecting  it  to  these 
limitations  destroys  its  nature.  It  is  the  infinite  no  longer 
if  it  is  comprehended  within  the  narrow  sj^here  of  human 
cogitation.  What  is  apprehended  as  the  infinite  and  rea- 
soned upon  as  the  infinite  is  a  tissue  of  negations ;  which,  the 
human  mind  accepting  as  positive  elements  of  consciousness, 
1  Chapter  iii. 

Lect.  IX.]  CREATION.  211 

becomes   involved   in   an  endless  series  of  contradictions. 

Hence  such  absurdities  are  not  arguments.     They  are  only 

puzzles   or   logical   riddles.      They  prove 

They  are  liut  puz-  j.1  •  i      j.    j.i        •  j.  p  ^ 

zies  or  logical  riddles,  nothing  but  the  niipoteucy  of  reason,  and 
the  incompetency  of  philosophy  to  trans- 
cend with  its  logical  forms  the  sphere  of  experience.  It 
cannot  be  too  strenuously  insisted  on  that  the  infinite  is 
believed,  not  known — that  as  existing  it  is  a  necessary 
affirmation  of  intelligence,  a  thing  which  we  cannot  but 
accept.  But  when  we  undertake  to  represent  the  object  of 
this  faith,  we  can  only  do  it  by  recurring  to  the  conditions 
under  which  it  is  awakened,  and  by  divesting  what  is  posi- 
tively given  of  all  limitations.  This  negation  of  limitations 
puts  the  object  beyond  the  grasp  of  the  understanding,  and 
we  are  guilty  of  a  gross  paralogism  when  we  reduce  it  to 
the  forms  and  categories  of  our  human  thought.  We  may 
reason  about  it,  but  we  cannot  reason  from  it.  Now  in  the 
question  of  creation  the  great  difficulty  is  the  coexistence  of 
finite  and  infinite,  the  one  and  the  many,  the  perfect  and 
the  imperfect.  In  attempting  to  adjust  the  relations  be- 
twixt them,  we  imperceptibly  take  for  granted  that  we  know 
the  positive  properties  and  attributes  of  the  infinite,  as  we 
know  the  positive  properties  and  attributes  of  the  finite, 
whereas  we  know  the  infinite  only  as  the  negation  of  the 
finite.  These  negations  wx  preposterously  make  positive. 
We  confound,  in  other  words,  a  non-positing  of  the  infinite 
with  a  real  positing,  and  setting  out  with  a  fundamental 
blunder,  it  is  no  wonder  that  every  step  should  plunge  us  in 
deeper  darkness.  He  that  reasons  upon  no  as  if  it  were 
yes,  must  not  be  sm^prised  at  the  perplexity  of  his  conclusions. 
A  detailed  consideration  of  the  difficulties  alleged  against 
the  notion  of  creation  will  show  that  even 
in  this  point  of  view  it  will  not  suffer  in 
comparison  with  Pantheism,  or  any  other  hypothesis  touch- 
ing; the  nature  and  oria!;in  of  the  world. 

1.  The  objection  that  the  idea  of  creation  is  self-contra- 
dictory and  absurd,  proceeds  upon  a  double  misconception. 

212  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

It  first  assumes  that  nothing  is  a  positive  subject  of  operation 
— a  real  pre-existing  material  upon  which 

First  objection  based  ±  o  i. 

on  a  double  miscon-  powcr  is  exertcd.  It  takcs  for  granted 
"^^  '°°'  that  the  preposition  ex  in  the  philosophic 

axiom  ex  nihilo  nihil  fit,  represents  the  material  cause.  This 
is  a  gross  mistake.  Nothing  is  simj)ly  the  term  from  which 
existence  begins.  The  meaning  is,  that  something  now  is 
where  there  was  nothing  before ;  that  something,  in  other 
words,  has  begun  to  be.  Creation  is  an  energy  of  God,  an 
effect  of  the  Divine  omnipotence,  produced  without  the  con- 
currence of  any  other  principle.  His  power  as  infinite  is 
without  limits.  It  is,  therefore,  not  restricted,  like  that  of 
the  creature,  to  the  modification  of  a  pre-existing  material ; 
it  not  only  changes,  but  makes  its  objects.  There  is  no 
more  contradiction  in  the  notion  of  power  as  giving  being 
than  there  is  in  the  notion  of  power  as  changing  being. 
Both  may  be  incomprehensible,  but  neither  is  absurd.  The 
second  error  is,  that  the  notion  of  power  is  determined  to 
only  one  class  of  effects.  It  is  true,  experience  presents 
us  with  no  instances  of  power  but  those  produced  through 
the  medium  of  motion.  But  the  concept  may  be  separated 
in  thought  from  any  specific  form  in  w  hich  it  is  realized ; 
it  is  simply  that  Avhich  produces  effects  without  reference  to 
their  nature  or  the  conditions  under  which  it  is  exerted. 
Hence,  creation  as  an  effect  is  as  clearly  an  instance  of  power 
as  motion.  It  is,  indeed,  the  highest  exemplification  of  it. 
To  say  that  God  wills  and  a  world  follows,  requires  no  other 
simple  idea  to  understand  it  than  is  involved  in  the  asser- 
tion, I  will  and  my  arm  moves.  The  mode  in  which  the 
power  operates  is  different,  but  the  idea  of  power  is  the 
same.  In  neither  case  do  we  understand  the  mode  of  ope- 
ration. Because  one  is  a  matter  of  daily  experience  we 
confound  familiarity  with  knowledge,  and  think  we  under- 
stand it  when  we  do  not.  What  power  is  in  itself  we  are 
unable  to  conceive.  It  is  a  mystery  in  every  form  of  its 
exhibition,  and  as  we  cannot  grasp  it  in  itself,  it  is  perfectly 
preposterous  to  limit  it  to  one  class  of  effects.     There  is  con- 

Lect.  IX.]  CREATION.  213 

sequently  mystery,  but  no  absurdity,  no  self-contradiction, 
in  saying  that  the  worlds  were  made  by  the  power  of  God. 

2.  To  the  second  objection,  which  makes  creation  contra- 
dict the  plenitude  of  the  Divine  Being,  it  may  be  replied 
that  the  creature  has  no  reality  which  it  does  not  derive 
from  God.  Though  separate  and  distinct  from  Him,  it  is 
not  independent  of  Him.  His  will  is  the  basis  of  all  the 
reality  it  contains.  Lot  that  will  be  withdrawn,  and  it  be- 
comes nothing.  Hence  the  whole  sum  of  its  being  was  in 
Him  virtually  and  potentially  before  it  existed,  and  creation, 
therefore,  has  neither  added  anything  to  Him  nor  to  the 
amount  of  positive  reality  in  the  universe.  God  alone  is 
equal  in  the  sum  of  being  to  God  plus  the  universe.  But 
if  this  answer  should  not  solve  the  diffi- 

The    second    objec-  1j.*j.  i  j_j.1j.1j.  j.1' 

tion  retorted.  culty,  it  may  bc  retorted  that  pantheism  en- 

counters it  in  another  and  still  more  objec- 
tionable form.  The  world  is  a  phenomenon  of  God,  a  mod- 
ification of  His  being.  The  phenomenon  has  some  reality, 
it  has  some  kind  of  existence ;  otherwise  nothing  could  be 
predicated  of  it.  Now  the  appearance  of  the  phenomenon 
either  adds  its  own  being  to  that  of  God,  and  then  He  was 
not  absolutely  perfect  before ;  or  it  does  not,  and  then  there 
is  some  reality  which  cannot  be  affirmed  of  Him.  The  dif- 
ficulty presses  the  Pantheist  as  sorely  as  the  Theist,  unless 
the  Pantheist  is  prepared  to  maintain  that  His  phenomenal 
modifications  are  pure  nothings.  The  difficulty,  in  truth,  is 
one  which  lies  against  every  hypothesis  which  recognizes  the 
All-perfect  as  one  and  simple  and  complete.  To  deduce  the 
manifold  and  plural  from  the  one  and  simple,  to  exjilain  their 
coexistence  without  destroying  unity,  is  a  problem  which  the 
understanding  cannot  solve,  whether  the  manifold  and  plural 
be  that  of  thought,  of  phenomenon,  or  of  finite  substance. 
"We  have  not  the  data  for  even  apprehending  the  real  nature 
of  the  problem — it  embraces  terms  which  transcend  the 
limits  of  human  speculation.  The  fundamental  error  is  in 
taking  for  granted  that  we  know  the  absolute  in  itself.  The 
very  fact  that  the  difficulty  attaches  to  all  systems,  shows 

214  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

that  it  is  grounded  in  the  impotency  of  human  reason,  and 
not  in  the  nature  of  the  things  themselves,  if  we  had  the 
faculties  to  seize  them  in  their  essential  reality. 

3.  In  relation  to  the  difficulty  arising  from  the  knowledge 
and  Avill  of  God,  it  must  first  be  remarked 

DifiBcuIties      from  i  ■       t  i  i  t  •  i      • 

knowledge  and  will  of  that  tliis,  like  tlic  preceding,  IS  not  obvi- 
Sntheil'.""'*'''  "''  ated  by  adopting  the  scheme  of  the  Pan- 
theists. On  the  contrary,  it  assumes  in 
that  scheme  the  appearance  of  a  series  of  positive  contradic- 
tions. The  limited,  contingent,  imperfect  is  made  a  part  of 
God ;  it  pertains  to  the  very  essence  of  the  Divine  nature. 
God  does  not  realize  the  fullness  of  His  own  being  without 
those  phenomenal  modifications  of  weakness  and  imperfection 
which  it  is  supposed  to  be  incredible  that  He  should  create. 
He  can  possess  them  in  Himself,  and  yet  be  infinite ;  but 
He  cannot  make  them,  as  substances  separate  from  Himself, 
without  ceasing  to  be  God.  Betwixt  the  two  propositions, 
God  creates  the  finite  and  God  is  the  finite,  there  is  no  com- 
parison as  to  the  difficulties  that  they  respectively  involve. 
One  is  encumbered  with  perplexities,  the  other  with  absurd- 
ities. The  real  difference,  in  this  matter,  between  the  Theist 
and  the  Pantheist  is,  that  one  refers  all  weakness  and  im- 
perfection to  a  creature  that  is  not  God ;  the  other  places 
them  in  God  himself.  But,  in  the  next  place,  we  must 
remember  that  we  are  incapable  of  conceiv- 

It    transcends    our        ,  r>  tn-     •         i  i     i  i 

powers  to  comprehend  ing  the  iiaturc  01  JDivinc  knowlcdgc  or  the 
^=;:r::r  operation  of  the  Divine  wm.  What  God's 
consciousness  is,  how  subject  and  object  in 
Him  are  related,  how  He  knows,  we  are  unable  even  to  con- 
jecture. We  can  think  of  His  knowledge  only  in  the  terms 
of  human  consciousness.  We  distinguish  the  subject  and 
object.  Now  if  the  object  of  Divine  knowledge  be  Himself, 
it  is  certainly  infinite,  and  there  is  no  difficulty ; — if  Him- 
self, the  infinite,  virtually  and  potentially  contains  the  finite — 
that,  as  included  in  Himself,  must  fall  within  the  sphere  of 
His  consciousness,  considered  as  infinite.  There  is  no  more 
difficulty  in  God's  knowing  the  finite  than  there  is  in  the 

Lect,  IX.]  CEEATION.  215 

existence  of  the  finite,  whatever  form  it  take,  whether  of 
substance  or  phenomenon.  The  knowledge  of  the  infinite 
inckides  all  that  the  infinite  can  produce,  whether  as  modifi- 
cation or  real  being.  The  difficulty,  therefore,  subsides  into 
that  of  the  possibility  of  the  finite,  as  fact. 

In  regard  to  the  will  of  God,  it  is  evident  that  He  Him- 
self must  be  the  beginning  and  the  end  of  all  His  determi- 
nations. He  must  act  from  Himself  and  for  Himself.  We 
cannot  conceive  that  the  finite  has  been  chosen  for  its  own 
sake — that  the  will  of  God  terminates  upon  it  as  the  last 
end.  Such  a  procedure  would  indeed  be  a  degradation. 
Grounds  upun  which  ^u*  it  is  possiblc  that  there  may  be  in  the 
we  can  conceive  God     finite,  as  au  objcct  of  the  Diviuc  will,  rela- 

might  choose  to  create.  .  ,.„.  i-i-  •/•• 

tions  to  the  infinite  which  justify  its  crea- 
tion as  a  transcendent  proof  of  wisdom  and  goodness.  It 
may  be  that  these  very  perfections  have  determined  the  pro- 
duction of  the  universe  of  creatures,  and  therefore  that  the 
finite  is  willed  only  on  account  of  the  infinite.  It  may  be, 
too,  that  a  goodness  which  delights  to  communicate  itself, 
and  creates  worlds  that  it  might  floAV  out  upon  them  in  holi- 
ness and  joy,  as  it  exists  in  an  infinite  being  may  be  com- 
patible with  the  most  perfect  self-sufficiency  and  self-beati- 
tude and  blessedness.  God  is  not  rendered  more  holy  and 
more  blessed  in  making  creatures  to  behold  His  glory  and 
taste  His  love,  but  it  may  be  that  a  nature  perfectly  blessed 
may  freely  choose  to  impart  bounties.  It  may  be  that  infi- 
nite goodness  has  nothing  approximating  to  selfishness.  We 
cannot  reason  from  mere  metaphysical  grounds  in  relation 
to  a  moral  being.  The  question  turns  here  upon  higher 
principles  than  the  mere  balancing  of  the  amounts  of  entity 
or  substance.  The  true  end  of  the  creation,  and  therefore 
the  true  motive  of  the  Divine  will,  must  be  sought  in  a 
higher  and  nobler  sphere  than  that  of  mere  being.  The 
difficulties  which  emerge  to  speculation  in  one  sphere  dis- 
appear before  morality  in  another. 

The  will  of  God  as  eternal  does  not  by  any  means  involve 
an  eternal  creation.     It  implies  an  eternal  decree  to  create — 

216  CREATION.  -  [Lect.  IX. 

„,    ,        ,        ,      thatis,  an  eternal  decree  to  beo;in  time.  The 

■  The  decree  to  create  '  & 

and  its  execution  not     execution  of  a  decrec  may  not  be  co-exist- 

co-existeut.  .  ■,      .         f,  .  -,  ■,        . 

ent  with  its  lormation,  and  yet  the  inter- 
val imply  no  change.  Otherwise  there  could  be  no  succes- 
sion of  events  at  all.  The  argument  goes  the  whole  length 
of  affirming  that  all  things  must  be  simultaneous,  or  they 
are  not  the  objects  of  the  Divine  will.  As  to  the  notion 
that  all  the  parts  of  duration  and  space  are  equal,  that 
there  is  no  motive  for  choosing  between  tliem,  and  that 
consequently  creation  must  be  unlimited  in  both  respects, — it 
proceeds  upon  the  assumption  that  time  and  space  are  real 
things,  and  not  the  logical  conditions  of  existence.  To 
those  who  deny  them  any  reality,  there  is  no  difficulty ;  to 
those  who  regard  them  as  real,  the  difficulty  arises,  but  it 
may  be  resolved  into  the  incomprehensibility  which  attaches 
to  the  nature  of  the  Divine  will. 

4.  The  fourth  class  of  objections  drawn  from  the  exist- 

Objections  to  crea-     ^ucc  of  cvil   is  Icss  formidable  upon  the 

tion  from  the  exist-     scheiiie  of  Theisiii  than  that  of  Pantheism. 

enoeof  evil  not  dimiu-       ^-^     -,  t.  ■•  .  /. 

ished,  but  aggravated,  God,  accordiiig  to  the  partisaiis  of  creation, 
by  Pantheism.  -^  ^^^  ^^^  subject  of  cvil ;  it  cxists  Separate 

and  apart  from  Him.  The  Pantheist  lodges  it  in  His  own 
nature.  He  is,  if  not  evil,  yet  far  from  being  the  absolutely 
good.  The  truth  is.  Pantheism  is  obliged  to  repudiate  all 
moral  distinctions.  Right  and  wrong  are  reduced  to  the 
contrasts  of  nature  out  of  which  is  evolved  universal  har- 
mony. The  bad  is  as  necessary  as  the  good.  The  propor- 
tions of  the  universe  equally  demand  both.  If  evil  appears 
as  disorder,  it  is  only  from  our  partial  view  of  it.  If  we 
could  take  in  the  whole  scene  of  things,  we  should  perceive 
that  the  perfection  of  the  wdiole  would  suffer  without  it. 
In  this  broad  contradiction  to  the  dictates  of  our  moral 
nature  we  see  that  Pantheism  not  only  removes  no  difficul- 
ties in  the  notion  of  creation,  but  that  it  introduces  absurd- 
ities and  paradoxes  which  defy  the  possibility  of  unsophis- 
ticated assent.  It  annihilates  man's  highest  distinction, 
prostrates  his  noblest  hopes  and  chills  his  warmest  aspira- 

Lect.  IX.]  CREATION.  217 

tions.  He  has  no  real  being — he  is  only  a  shadow  projected 
for  a  moment  upon  the  surface  of  the  infinite,  soon  to  vanish 
and  disappear  for  ever.  He  is  to  be  absorbed  in  the  all-com- 
prehending substance.  His  individual,  personal  conscious- 
ness must  perish ;  immortality  is  a  more  stupendous  con- 
tradiction than  creation.  Shadows  we  are,  shadows  we 
pursue  ;  as  shadows  we  are  cheated,  and  as  shadows  we 
must  finally  be  dissolved.  These  are  the  propositions  which 
are  so  plain,  so  simple,  so  comprehensible  that  we  are  in- 
vited to  exchange  for  them  the  doctrine  of  a  real  existence, 
a  real  destiny,  a  real  immortality,  a  real  heaven  or  hell ; — so 
obvious  that  to  find  these  we  must  be  willing;  to  lose  our- 

The  Pantheistic  hypothesis  rests  upon  the  assumption  that 
the  world  has  no  substantive  reality,  or  that  it  is  not  a  sep- 
arate and  distinct  thing.  The  metaphysical  subtleties  by 
which  this  paradoxical  scheme  has  been  supported  have  all 
originated  from  inattention  to  the  limits  of  human  know- 
ledge, and  from  a  desire  to  know  what 
thrown  by  the  deiiv-  trausccuds  tlic  rcacli  of  our  facultics.  The 
eranees  of  conscious-  ^j.^^  proccdurc  of  pliilosopliy  is  to  iuquirc 
what  are  the  delivcances  of  consciousness, 
to  accept  these  as  ultimate  principl  'S,  and  to  regulate  our 
conclusions  by  these  data.  If  we  take  this  method,  the  con- 
troversy can  soon  be  brought  to  a  close. 

1.  Consciousness  unequivocally  avers  that  the  world  has 
The  first  is  that  the  ^  real,  scparatc,  substautive  being.  It  is 
world  has  a  real,  sep-  the  uuivcrsal  faith  of  thc  racc.  Panthe- 
ism, the  highest  form  of  idealism,  is  a 
speculation  of  the  schools,  and  can  never  be  carried  out  into 
practical  life.  It  is  a  species  of  skepticism  w'hich  we  may 
persuade  ourselves  to  adopt  as  a  conclusion  of  philosophy, 
but  which  we  can  never  realize  as  a  fact  of  experience.  In 
every  case  of  external  perception  we  are  conscious  of  two 
things — of  ourselves  as  percipient  subjects,  of  the  external 
world  as  a  perceived  object.  We  know  them  both,  and  we 
know  them  both  as  real  existences.     They  stand  in  contrast 

218  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

to  each  other,  and  their  distinction  in  the  act  of  perception 
is  but  the  reflection  of  their  distinction  in  reality  of  being. 
They  are  both  cognized  under  that  intrinsic  law  of  exist- 
ence by  which  alone  we  recognize  a  substance.  Conscious- 
ness, therefore,  reveals  matter  as  substance,  mind  as  sub- 
stance, and  each  as  distinct  from  and  contrasted  with  the 
other.  To  repudiate  the  testimony  of  consciousness  is  to 
repudiate  the  possibility  of  knowledge ;  it  is  to  annihilate 
all  intelligence.  The  universality  of  this  conviction  proves 
it  to  be  natural ;  the  impossibility  of  divesting  ourselves  of 
it  as  a  practical  conviction  confirms  the  inference.  Either, 
then,  consciousness  is  false,  and  all  knowledge  impossible, 
or  mind  and  matter  are  real,  distinct,  separate,  substan- 
tive beings. 

2.  Subject  and  object,  mind  and  matter,  as  revealed  in 
consciousness,  though  real  substances,  are  limited,  condi- 
tioned, dependent.  They  recipi'ocally  condition  each  other. 
They  are  bounded  by  time  and  space.    The  world  presents  an 

aspect  of  mutability,  a  successive  influence 

The  second  is,  that  n  i       ff     j  i        i     •     i         i 

the  world  is  finite.  ^*  causc  aud  eticct,  a  coustaut  interchange 
of  action  and  reaction.  Its  history  is  a  his- 
tory of  vicissitudes.  The  world  is  finite.  This  is  as  clearly 
the  testimony  of  consciousness  as  that  the  world  exists.  It  has 
no  principle  in  it  that  resists  succession  and  change.  On  the 
contrary,  it  is  bound  to  time,  which  necessarily  implies  both. 

3.  These  two  facts,  that  the  world  exists  and  that  the 

world  is  finite,  imply  another,  that  the  world 

From  these  two  pro-  ,     ■,  ,  .  .  • ,  i         i 

ceeda  the   third,  that       UlUSt    liaVC    bCgUU.         A    SUCCCSSIOU    WltUOUt 

the  world  had  a  begin-     beffiuuiug  is  a  coutradictiou  in  terms.     It 

ning.  .  . 

is  equivalent  to  eternal  time.  A  being  of 
whose  existence  time  is  the  law  cannot  be  eternal.  But 
time  is  the  law  of  all  finite  existence ;  therefore,  none  can 
be  eternal.  Or,  to  put  the  argument  in  another  form :  an 
infinite  series  of  finite  things  is  a  contradiction.  According 
to  the  hypothesis,  everything  in  the  series  had  a  beginning, 
but  the  series  itself  had  none — that  is,  what  is  true  of  all 
the  parts  is  not  true  of  the  whole.     A  chain  without  a  first 

Leot.  IX.]  CREATION.  219 

link  is  impossible,  but  a  first  link  annihilates  the  notion  of 
eternal  being.     The  world  therefore  had  a  beginning. 

4.  Having  reached  this  point,  we  are  led  to  an  inevitable 
disjunction.     If  it  had  a  beginning,  it  began  spontaneously — 
that  is,  had  an  absolute  commencement,  or  it  sprang  from  a 
cause.     An  absolute  commencement  is  not  only  inconceiv- 
able, but  contradictory  to  that  great  law 

The  fourth  is,  it  had  c    •    i    if  i*it  ij^ 

g^^^^^gg  01   intelligence  which  demands   tor  every 

new  appearance  a  cause.  The  world,  there- 
fore, must  have  been  caused,  but  a  cause  which  begins  exist- 
ence, creates.     The  world,  therefore,  must  have  been  created. 

In  this  argument  we  have  done  nothing  but  reprockice  the 
facts  of  consciousness,  and  unfold  explicitly  what  they  im- 
plicitly contain.  They  give  us  a  real  world,  subject  to  the 
law  of  time,  which  must  have  begun,  and  must  therefore  have 
had  a  creator. 

This  deduction  is  so  simple  and  natural  that  it  may  seem 

strange  that  the  reality  of  creation  has  ever  been  called  in 

question.     The  wonder  will  disappear  when  we  call  to  mind 

what  the  history  of  philosophy  so  abund- 

Speculation  has  ever  .i  -n       ^      x  ^1     x      j_t  j.        l  I* 

tended  to  contradict     autly    illustrates,    that    the    tendency    of 
the  facts  of  conscious-     spcculatiou  lias  cver  been   to  explain  the 


incomprehensible,  and  thus  to  lose  itself  in 
contradictions  to  the  most  palpable  deliverances  of  conscious- 
ness. Instead  of  looking  into  consciousness,  and  accepting  its 
primitive  utterances  as  ultimate  and  supreme,  tliey  have  been 
turned  into  propositions  to  be  proved;  and  as,  from  the 
nature  of  the  case,  no  proof  could  be  given,  and  as  their 
denial  would  involve  intelligence  in  a  war  upon  itself,  the 
result  has  been  the  doubt  in  relation  to  matters  which  would 
have  been  perfectly  obvious  if  speculation  had  not  obscured 
them.  Hence  the  denial  of  an  external  world ;  of  personal 
identity ;  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul ;  of  moral  distinc- 
tions ;  of  the  being  of  God.  These  are  all  fundamental  ele- 
ments of  reason — a  part  of  the  natural  faith  of  mankind ; 
and,  practically,  nature  has  always  asserted  them  in  defiance 
of  the  sophistries  of  a  perverse  philosophy. 

220  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

For  ages,  philosophers,  instead  of  interpreting  aright  the 
fact  of  consciousness  in  external  perception,  laid  it  down  as 
a  first  principle  that  the  object  known  was  diiferent  from  the 
object  perceived.  This  crotchet,  accepted  without  examina- 
tion and  transmitted  in  different  forms,  was  never  questioned 
until  it  brought  forth  the  fruit  of  universal  skepticism.  In 
the  same  way,  the  principle  that  out  of  nothing  nothing  can 
be  made — true  only  in  relation  to  nothing  as  efficient  cause — 
has  been  universally  applied  to  nothing  as  material  cause, 
or  terminus  a  quo,  and  has  not  only  excluded  the  possibility 
of  creations,  but  contains  in  its  bosom  the  seeds  of  absolute 
atheism.  As,  in  the  one  case,  the  testimony  of  nature  was 
silenced  by  a  dogma,  so  in  the  other ;  and  as,  in  the  one  case, 
nature  made  reprisals  by  plunging  the  understanding  in 
hopeless  darkness,  so  in  the  other  it  inflicts  the  yet  greater 
curse  of  leaving  us  without  a  God. 

5.  There  is  still  another  step  which  we  are  authorized  to 
mv.  «fti  •  ti  f  fi .     take.     As  the  finite  is  limited  to  time,  and 

The  nitn  is,  that  the  ' 

Creator  is  eternal  and       aS    timC    bcgiuS    witll    the    finite,    tllC     bciug 

who  creates  must  be  independent  of  time. 
That  the  first  creature  should  have  been  made  by  a  finite 
being,  is  equivalent  to  saying  that  time  was  before  it  began. 
It  is,  therefore,  a  contradiction  in  terms  to  attribute  all  be- 
ginning to  the  begun.     The  Creator  there- 
God  only  can  create,  ,1,11  rri 

lore  must  be  eternal  antl  necessary.  Ine 
first  act  of  creation  is  the  sole  prerogative  of  such  a  being. 
But  are  we  authorized  to  say  that  no  creature  can,  under 
any  circumstances,  create  ?  Are  we  authorized  to  say  that 
no  new  beings  can  now  begin  from  the  agency  of  others  who 
have  also  begun  ?  There  is  evidently  a  difference  between 
the  first  beginning  and  any  subsequent  commencements.  It 
does  not  follow  that  because  creation  in  the  first  instance  is 
limited  to  God,  that  therefore  it  must  always  be  restricted  to 
Him.     But  there  is  another  aspect  in  which  this  conclusion 

presents  itself  as  little  less  than  self-evident. 

or  annihilate.  -i   m     , 

To  create  and  to  annihilate  are  expres- 
sions of  the  same  kind  of  power — they  are  both  equally  ex- 

Lect.  IX.]  CREATION.  221 

pressions  of  omnipotence  ;  that  is,  they  are  expressions  of 
power  unlimited  and  unconditioned.  To  annihilate,  so  far 
from  implying  subjection  to  any  conditions  of  actions,  de- 
stroys them  all.  It  removes  time,  empties  space,  abolishes 
substance,  and  leaves  nothing  to  be  conditioned.  This, 
surely,  is  inconsistent  with  the  notion  of  the  finite.  The 
power  to  abolish  all  conditions  is  the  power  to  be  infinite. 
But  creation  is  just  the  reversed  view  of  annihilation.  Cre- 
ation makes  the  transition  from  nothing  to  something ;  an- 
nihilation makes  the  transition  from  something  to  nothing. 
They  are  correlated  as  altitude  and  depth.  Now  if  the  power 
to  annihilate  be  contradictory  to  the  notion  of  a  creature,  the 
same  must  be  true  of  the  power  to  create.  Divines  have 
illustrated  the  infinitude  of  power  involved  in  creation  by 
representing  the  distance  betwixt  something  and  nothing  as 
infinite.  They  are  contradictory  opposites,  and  no  being 
can  bridge  the  abyss  which  separates  them  but  the  infinite 

All  finite  power  is  limited  to  obedience  to  the  laws  of 
nature.  It  is  conditioned  by  the  properties  and  attributes 
of  the  substances  upon  which  it  operates.  These  substances 
must  be  given  as  a  pre-existing  material,  and  the  creature 
can  then  work  within  the  limits  of  the  capabilities  of  the 
subject.  This  limitation  to  the  properties  and  laws  of  exist- 
ing substances  seems  to  be  the  characteristic  distinction  of 
finite  agency.  Hence,  all  that  it  achieves  is  to  arrange,  com- 
bine, change,  modify.  It  produces  new  effects  only  by  ad- 
justments, which  bring  into  i^lay,  in  new  forms,  the  forces  of 
nature.  Beyond  these  conditions  it  can  never  pass.  Hence, 
creation  as  an  unconditioned  exercise  of  power ;  as  requiring 
neither  material,  instrument,  nor  laws;  as  transcending 
change,  modifications,  or  adjustments  of  existing  things,  is 
the  sole  prerogative  of  God.  It  is  His  to  create  as  it  is  His 
to  destroy.     The  principle  is  vital  in  the- 

This     principle     is  i  ti'  i.  i  l  j.       xi 

vital  iu  theology,  ^^^SJ-     I^  crcaturcs  could  create,  the  uni- 

verse would   not  be,   or  might  not  be,  a 
revelation  of  God,     These  heavens  and  this  earth,  our  own 

222  CREATION.  [Lect.  IX. 

bodies  and  souls,  might  have  been  the  products  of  being  as 
dependent  as  ourselves.  The  great  decisive  proof  of  revela- 
and  fundamental  in  ^lon,  involvcd  in  the  idea  of  miraculous 
the  evidences  of  Chris-  powcr  as  the  exclusivc  prerogative  of  God, 
would  be  swept  away.  A  miracle  would 
cease  to  be  the  infallible  credential  of  a  Divine  Messenger. 
Revealed  and  Natural  Religion  would  be  put  in  equal  jeop- 
ardy. But  the  truth  is  so  obvious  that  creative  j50wer  be- 
longs only  to  God  that  it  has  commanded  the  testimony  of 
the  race,  with  a  few  partial  exceptions,  and  that  in  forms  of 
the  strongest  assurance.  The  very  fact  that  philosophers 
have  denied  the  possibility  of  creation  is  a  pregnant  proof 
that  they  regarded  it  as  involving  a  power  even  transcending 
that  of  God.  The  few  who  have  ventured  to  suggest  that  a 
creature  might  create  have  affirmed,  at  the  same  time,  that 
he  could  create  only  as  the  instrument  of  God ;  and  even  in 
that  case  very  few  have  been  willing  to  say  that  the  power 
could  be  habitual  and  resident  in  it.  It  may,  therefore,  be 
taken  as  the  universal  faith  of  mankind  that  creation  cannot 
be  the  work  of  a  creature.  It  is  the  prerogative  of  God,  and 
of  God  alone. 



/CALVIN  has  very  properly  remarked  that  true  wisdom 
^  essentially  consists  in  the  knowledge  of  God  and  the 
knowledge  of  ourselves.  Each  is  indispensable  to  the  other. 
All  the  positive  notions  which  we  frame  of  the  attributes  of 
God  are  derived  from  the  properties  of  our  own  souls,  and 
without  some  just  apprehension  of  our  own  nature,  capaci- 
ties and  destiny  the  conception  of  religion  becomes  unintel- 
ligible. We  must  know  ourselves  in  order  to  know  aught 
else  aright. 

That  man  is  the  centre  in  which,  so  far  as  this  lower  world 

is  concerned,  all  the  lines  of  creation  con- 
Man  a  microcosm.  i  i        •         i 

verge  and  meet,  that  he  is  the  crowning 
glory  of  God's  sublunary  workmanship,  is  evident  alike 
from  the  peculiarities  of  his  being  and  from  the  inspired 
history  of  his  production.  He  unites  in  himself  the  two 
great  divisions  of  the  creature — persons  and  things ;  he  is 
at  once  subject  and  object,  mind  and  matter,  nature  and 
spirit.  He  has  elements  which  work  under  the  blind  and 
necessitating  influence  of  law — which  enter  into  the  chain  of 
causes  and  effects  extending  through  all  the  impersonal  uni- 
verse ;  he  has  other  elements  which  mark  the  intelligent 
and  responsible  agent,  which  separate  him  from  the  whole 
sphere  of  mechanical  agencies,  and  stamp  him  with  the 
dignity  and  the  high  prerogative  of  intelligence  and  free- 
dom. All  the  forms  of  life  which  are  distributed  among 
other  creatures  are  concentrated  in  him.  He  has  the  growth 
and  assimilating  properties  of  the  jilant,  the  motion  and 


224  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

spontaneous  properties  of  the  animal,  and  to  these  he  adds 
the  sublimer  endowments  of  personality  and  reason.  He 
is,  therefore,  a  representation,  a  miniature  embodiment  of 
all  other  creatures.  He  is  the  kosmos  upon  a  small  scale; 
tlie  whole  creation  finds  its  counterpart  in  him ;  he  contains 
the  fullness  of  created  being.  The  history  of  his  creation 
completely  accords  with  this  account  of  his  position.  He 
was  the  last  of  God's  works,  and  the  Almighty  proceeded 
to  his  formation  with  a  solemnity  of  counsel  that  indicated 
the  place  he  was  destined  to  occupy  in  the 'scale  of  being. 
"  Let  us  make  man,"  is  a  formula  of  consultation  employed 
in  the  production  of  no  other  creature.  Then,  earth  and 
heaven  are  laid  under  tribute  to  furnish  the  materials.  His 
body  is  curiously  and  Avondrously  "wrought  from  the  clay, 
and  life  is  infused  into  him  from  the  breath  of  the  Almighty. 
He  became  a  living  soul.  We  are  not  to  suppose  that  the 
process  of  forming  the  body  was  completed,  and  that  then 
the  endowment  of  reason  was  imparted.  There  was  no  in- 
terval between  the  organization  of  the  one  and  the  infusion 
of  the  other.  They  w^ere  simultaneous  operations.  Man 
became  a  living  soul  in  the  very  process  of  receiving  the 
body  so  wonderfully  and  beautifully  ]jade. 

As  thus  deliberately  made,  thus  strangely  mingling  heaven 
and  earth,  he  is  fitted  to  occupy  a  place  in  which  he  shall 
represent  God  to  the  creatures  and  the  creatures  to  God. 
He  is  fitted  to  collect  all  those  traces  of  Divine  wisdom 
and  goodness  ^vhich  are  so  conspicuous  in  the  works  of  the 
Divine  Hand,  and  to  render  to  the  Supreme  Architect,  as 
the  high  priest  of  nature,  the  tribute  of  praise  which  the 
creatures  can  reflect,  but  cannot  express.  Hence  he  is  des- 
tined to  exercise  dominion  over  them.  He  becomes  their 
lord.  Through  him  and  for  him  they  accomplish  the  end 
of  their  being — they  are  for  him  as  he  is  for  God.^ 

But  it  is  necessary  to  take  a  more  detailed  view  of  those 
excellencies  wdiich  give  to  man  his  dignity  and  pre-eminence. 
"VVe  shall  consider,  first,  those  peculiarities  which  distinguish 
1  Kurtz,  Bib.  and  Ast.,  p.  152. 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  225 

him  as  man,  and  without  which  lie  could 

Threefold    division  .-i  iiii  'xxi 

of  the  subject.  ^^*  "^  regarded  as  belongmg  to  the  species. 

We  shall  then  consider  his  condition 
when  he  came  from  the  hands  of  his  Maker ;  and,  thirdly, 
the  destiny  which  he  was  required  to  achieve. 

I.  His    distinguishing    characteristics   as    man    may   be 

summed  up  in  the  attributes  of  reason  and 
person  ^^^''"*'"^  ^  *     of  will,  or  intelligence  and  freedom.      Or 

the  whole  may  be  expressed  in  the  single 
term  person.  All  other  terrestrial  creatures  are  things. 
They  live  in  the  sphere  of  blind  impulses  and  successive 
impressions.  Their  spontaneity  is  a  mere  force,  and  their 
consciousness  is  only  a  continued  series  of  perceptions  or 
sensations,  without  any  distinct  affirmation  of  a  self  or  re- 
flective contrast  of  subject  and  object.  Brutes  do  not  know ; 
they  only  feel.  They  are  conscious  of  this  or  that  impres- 
sion, but  they  are  not  conscious  of  themselves.  They  can 
never  say  I  or  Thou.  Now  in  order  that  sense  and  the 
phenomena  of  sense  may  yield  knowledge,  there  must  be  a 
principle  which  reduces  all  these  perceptions  and  sensations 
to  a  conscious  unity.  We  must  recognize  them  as  ours,  as 
belonging  to  us,  and  we  must  recognize  them  as  proceeding 
from  objects  which  are  not  ourselves.  But  in  addition  to 
this,  there  must  be  conceptions  which  constitute  the  forms 
into  which  all  individual  experiences  are  cast  and  under 
which  they  are  arranged.  These  forms  or  categories  or  con- 
cepts generalize  the  singular,  unite  the  manifold,  and  make 
experience  the  parent  of  a  fixed  and  abiding  knowledge. 
These  concepts  or  categories  or  regulative  principles  of  rea- 
son are  the  indispensable  conditions  of  intelligence ;  there 
can  be  no  thought  without  them.  Judgment  can  only  real- 
ize itself  in  and  through  them.  Take  away  such  notions  as 
those  of  unity,  of  plurality,  of  difference,  identity,  equality, 
cause,  uniformity,  and  it  would  be  impossible  to  compare 
our  individual  impressions  or  to  attain  to  the  conceijtion  of 
general  laws.  All  knowledge  is  just  the  application  of  the 
primitive  concepts  of  the  understanding  to  the  materials  of 

Vol.  I.— 15 

226  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

sense  or  consciousness.  When  we  pass  beyond  the  sphere 
of  exj)erience,  and  demonstrate  the  existence  of  the  super- 
sensible, it  is  by  the  aid  of  primitive  beliefs  which  consti- 
tute the  very  substratum  of  intelligence.  Now  these  primi- 
tive concepts,  whether  they  exist  as  faith  or  as  mere  regula- 
tive forms  of  thought,  are  the  essence  of  reason.  They  make 
knowledge  and  experience  to  be  possible.  By  these  man 
knows,  and  by  these  he  extends  his  knowledge  beyond  the 
sphere  of  sense.  He  draws  the  distinction  betwixt  truth 
and  falsehood.  This  is  the  first  office  of  reason.  The  word 
truth,  the  word  error  or  fuheliood,  would  be  altogether 
unmeanino;  to  the  brute.  But  reason  also  draws  the  line 
between  right  and  wrong,  between  a  duty  and  a  crime. 
Reason,  in  the  form  of  a  conscience,  gives  us  the  concepts  of 
rectitude,  of  obligation,  of  merit  and  demerit.  It  prescribes 
a  law  to  the  will,  to  the  impulses,  the  appetites  and  all  our 
springs  of  action,  and  constitutes  man  a  moral  and  responsi- 
ble creature.  He  has  a  will  which  is  capable  of  being  influ- 
enced by  the  declarations  of  reason,  and  which,  as  it  acts  in 
obedience  to  reason,  elevates  our  impulses  into  a  higher 
sphere,  and  gives  them  a  dignity  to  which  the  appetites  of  an 
animal  can  lay  no  claim.  By  virtue  of  the  joint  possession 
of  reason  and  will  man  is  able  to  love  and  hate.  The  brute 
can  do  neither.  Love  is  not  mere  desire ;  it  is  not  blind 
attachment  or  headstrong  passion ;  it  is  founded  in  the 
perception  and  the  embrace  of  the  good.  It  is  will  deter- 
mined by  intelligence.  It  is,  therefore,  a  rational  principle. 
Brutes  cannot  hate ;  they  may  have  ferocity  and  violence, 
but  they  have  no  malice.  That  is  a  will  perverted  from 
reason,  divorced  from  intelligence  and  enslaved  to  selfish- 
ness. So  all  the  passions — pride,  envy,  charity,  compassion 
as  a  principle — are  conditioned  upon  the  possession  of  reason 
and  will.     These  attributes,  therefore,  are 

Reason  and  will  ilis-  x*    i    ^      i  •  ±_  rr^i  i 

ti..gui8h  humanity,        csseutial  to  humanity.     They  make  man  a 
person.     Through  them  he  has  rights,  is 
susceptible  of  society,  recognizes  truth  and  duty,  and  is  an 
intelligent,  moral,  responsible  being,  and  not  a  thing. 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  227 

These  attributes  involve  the  existence  of  a  principle  in 

man  which  cannot  be  resolved  into  any  modifications  of 

matter.     They  involve  the  substantive  ex- 

and  involve  a  soul  in        .    .  /.  ■•         r^\^         t    ,  •        ,  •  i      ,      •     , 

man.  isteucc  01  a  soul.     llie  distinction  betwixt 

soul  and  body  turns  upon  the  conscious 
difference  of  their  respective  attributes.  We  know  sub- 
stance only  in  and  through  its  properties,  and  where  the 
properties  are  contradictory  ojjposites  we  are  compelled  to 
infer  that  the  substances  cannot  be  the  same.  Thought  and 
extension  have  no  points  in  common.  Matter  is  essentially 
divisible,  consciousness  essentially  indivisible.  The  same 
reasoning  will  prove  this  soul  to  be  naturally  immortal — 
that  is,  incapable  of  destruction  by  any  natural  causes.  The 
simplicity  of  its  being  precludes  dissolution,  and  that  is  the 
only  form  of  destruction  with  which  we  are  acquainted. 
God,  it  is  true,  may  annihilate  the  soul ;  it  has  no  life  in 
itself.  But  we  have  no  reason  to  believe  that  anything 
which  has  ever  been  called  into  being  will  ever  cease  to  be, 
and  whatever  God  has  rendered  incapable  of  discerption, 
we  are  to  infer  that  He  designs  shall  always  exist  in  the 
same  form. 

It  has  been  debated  in  the  schools  whether  the  three-fold 
life  of  man,  sensitive,  animal  and  rational,  is  the  result  of 
the  same  spiritual  substance  in  its  union  with  the  body,  or 
whether  each  is  the  manifestation  of  a  different  immaterial 
principle.  We  are  certainly  not  to  multiply  causes  beyond 
necessity.  The  higher  forms  of  creation  seem  to  take  up 
into  themselves  the  principles  of  the  lower.  The  life  of  the 
vegetable  is  taken  up  into  the  life  of  the  animal,  as  a  fuller 
expansion  of  the  principle  of  life ;  and  so  reason  in  union 
with  the  body  contains  the  life  of  the  animal.  The  same 
soul  may  manifest  itself  under  different  conditions  in  different 
forms  ;  it  may  have  a  higher  and  a  lower  sphere.  The  ques- 
tion, however,  belongs  to  physiology  rather  than  religion. 
Whatever  answer  we  give  to  it,  the  essential  proj^erties  of 
man  remain  still  the  same. 

228  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

i„>mortaiity  yindi-         The  immortaliiy  of  the  soul,  apart  from 
catea    apart     from     the  positlve  teaching  of  Scripture,  may  be 
vindicated  upon  the  following  grounds  : 

1.  It  is  the  natural  and  spontaneous  sentiment  of  man- 
kind. It  has  never  been  denied  except  by  philosophers,  and 
that  on  speculative  grounds.  It  is  the  universal  sentiment 
of  the  race. 

2.  It  follows  from  the  simplicity  of  the  soul — the  indi- 
visible unity  of  consciousness. 

3.  It  flows  from  the  sense  of  responsibility,  which  is 
alwaysva  prospective  feeling. 

4.  It  flows  from  the  nature  of  knowledge  and  from  the 
nature  of  virtue.  (The  Socratic  argument.) 

5.  From  the  insufficiency  of  the  speculative  grounds  on 
which  the  contrary  hyj)othesis  is  maintained — That  death 
will  destroy  us ;  that  our  identity  is  lost  when  a  portion  of 
our  being  is  gone. 

6.  The  071US  probandi  is  on  the  other  side. 

II.  Having  considered  the  essential  properties  of  man,  we 
come  now  to  inquire  into  the  condition  in 

Was  man  created  an  t_*i.t_  r  j.ii  i         ^i,-/^ 

infant  or  in  maturity?  ^^ich  hc  camc  from  the  hauds  of  his  Cre- 
ator. Was  he  introduced  into  the  w^orld  in 
the  maturity  of  his  jDOwers,  with  habits  of  knowledge  and 
virtue  and  language,  or  w^as  he  framed  in  an  infantile  state, 
simply  with  capacities  of  acquiring  knowledge,  virtue  and 
language,  but  destitute  of  any  actual  possession  of  any  of 
them  ? 

This  question  becomes  important  in  consequence  of  the 

efforts  of  Pelagians  to  escape  from  the  doc- 

thewLT^"^"    "^'^      trine  of  original  sin,  and  the  distinctions 

of  the    Papists    in    consequence  of  which 

some  loop-hole  is  left  for  the  doctrine  of  free-will.     The 

theory  is,  that  man  was  created  in  puris 

In  puris  naluralihus.  i  •       i  i     •  i 

naturahbus — that  is,  he  Avas  created  in  the 
possession  of  all  those  attributes  and  properties  which  dis- 
tinguish him  as  a  species,  and  without  which  he  could  not 
be  man,  but  destitute  of  all  the  habits  and  accomplishments 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  229 

which  perfect  and  adorn  his  nature.     He  had  sense,  reason 
and  freedom  of  will,  but  these  existed  in  the  form  of  capa- 
cities, and  not  of  developed  energies.     It  is  particularly 
maintained  that  he  had  no  holy  habits ;  the  Pelagians  affirm- 
ing that  all  holiness  had  to  be  the  acquirement  of  his  own 
free-will,  and  that  he  was  framed  indifferent  to  rectitude  or 
sin ;   the  Papists  maintaining  that  holiness  was  superadded 
to  him  as  a  supernatural  endowment.     It  belongs"  not  to  the 
sphere  of  nature,  but  to  the  higher  sphere  of  grace.     In 
either  case,  original  sin  is  reduced  to  very  small  proportions. 
Upon  the  Pelagian  scheme  it  is  totally  denied  ;  we  are  all 
born  as  blank  in  relation  to  character  as  Adam  was  made. 
Upon  the  Popish  hypothesis,  it  is  rather  a  loss  of  something 
above  nature  than  a  corruption  of  nature  itself.     Holiness 
was  a  garment  in  which  Adam  was  clothed  after  his  creation, 
but  was  no  part  of  the  furniture  that  belonged  to  him  as  a 
creature.     Original  sin  is  the  removal  of  the  garment  and 
tlie  reduction  of  the  race  to  its  primitive  nudity.     The  differ- 
ence, according  to  Bellarmin,  betwixt  Adam  in  Eden  and 
his  descendants  is  the  difference  betwixt  a  clothed  man  and 
a  stripped  man.     Now,  in  opposition  to  this  theory,  reason 
and  the  Scriptures  concur  in  teaching  that  the  first  man 
must  have  been  created  in  comparative  maturity,  with  his 
faculties  expanded  by  knowledge,  his  will  charged  with  rec- 
titude, and  his  whole  nature  in  unison  with  his  moral  and 
personal  relations.     He  was  not  an  infant,  but  a  man.     His 
mind  was  not  a  blank,  but  a  sheet  well  inscribed  with  Di- 
vine instructions.     He  was  created  in  a  state  that  harmonized 
at  once  with  all  his  duties,  and  enabled  him  to  fulfil  his 
high  vocation  as  the  representative  of  God  to  the  creatures 
and  of  the  creatures  to  God.     He  was  in  actual  possession 
of  knowledge,  righteousness  and  true  holiness. 

1.  The  hypothesis  that  man  was  created  an  infant  in  mind 

Adam  not  created  an     ^anuot  be  Carried   out  without   the   most 

infant,  either  in  mind     yiolcnt   and   incredible    suppositions.      It 

or  in  body.  ,  .  p        .         ,  , 

postulates  a  series  ot  miracles,  protracted 
through  years  of  his  existence,  out  of  keeping  with  the  whole 

230  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

analogy  of  Divine  Providence.     Man's  body  was  either  fully 
developed,  or  that  also  was  the  body  of  an  infant.     If  it 
were  fully  developed,  then  it  had  the  strength  and  comjjact- 
ness  of  maturity  and  growth.     Now  an  infant  mind  in  a 
matured  body  can  consist  with  the  preservation  of  life  only 
hy  a  constant  miracle.     The  infant  knows  nothing  of  the 
properties  of  matter ;  has  not  yet  learned  to  judge  of  distance 
by  the  eye,  or  to  determine  the  magnitude,  hardness  and 
solidity  of  bodies  by  the  eye.     It  cannot  calculate  the  di- 
rection of  sounds  by  the  ear,  and  it  knows  nothing  of  their 
significancy.     It  is  a  stranger  to  its  own  strength.     It  has 
no  discernment  of  the  qualities  of  food  and  poison.     It  would 
have  to  learn  the  use  of  its  senses — to  acquire  by  slow  expe- 
rience all  those  cognitions  which  we  now  acquire  in  our  early 
years,  and  which  have  become  so  habitual  that  we  mistake 
them  for  immediate  and  original  perceptions.     In  this  con- 
dition of  helj)less  ignorance  it  Avould  run  against  the  hardest 
obstacles ;  be  liable  to  pitch  down  the  steepest  precipices ; 
mistake  poison  for  food ;  and  expose  itself  without  appre- 
hension to  the  greatest  dangers.     The  life  of  such  a  being 
could  not  be  preserved  for  a  single  day  without  a  perjoetual 
miracle.     Its  matured  body  would  be  a  curse  to  it.     The  in- 
congruity of  such  a  constitution  is  sufficient  to  stamp  it  with 
incredibility.     But  if  we  suppose  that  the  body  of  the  first 
man  was  that  of  an  infant,  then  we  have  to  j)Ostulate  a  mi- 
raculous guardianship  through  the  whole  period  of  its  being, 
from  the  first  moment  of  creation  until  it  has  reached  maturity 
of  knowledge.     God  would  have  to  be  to  it  a  nursing  mother 
and  a  protecting  father.     It  would  have  to  be  miraculously 
fed,  miraculously  nursed,  miraculously  guarded,  until  it  ac- 
quired the  habits  and  exj)erience  necessary  to  enable  it  to 
take  care  of  itself.     In  the  present  order  of  providence,  in- 
fant minds  are  put  in  infant  bodies ;  and  the  body  is  not 
allowed  to  reach  the  power  of  self-motion  until  the  mind  has 
acquired  the  skill  to  direct  it.     We  are  prevented    from 
walking  until  we  have  sense  enough  to  walk  with  some 
safety.     We  are  put  under  the  guardianship  of  parents  and 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  231 

friendS;  and  their  experience  supplies  our  deficiencies  until 
we  have  laid  in  a  stock  of  our  OM^n.  The  matured  body 
always  implies  the  matured  mind.  It  is  clear  therefore,  from 
the  nature  of  the  case  and  from  the  analogy  of  providence, 
that  if  Adam  were  created  in  maturity  of  body,  he  must  also 
have  been  created  in  maturity  of  mind.  But  maturity  of 
mind  consists  in  habits  of  knowledge.  It  is  knowledge 
which  makes  mind  grow  and  expand.  There  is  no  difficulty 
in  supposing  that  the  first  man  was  created  with  the  know- 
ledge resident  in  him  that  we  acquire  by  slow  exjjcrience. 
When  he  first  looked  upon  the  world  he  had  the  use  of 
senses,  as  we  learn  it,  and  he  thus  derived,  at  once,  all  those 
impressions  which  we  deduce  by  long  habits  of  association. 
To  this  extent  he  must  have  had  knowledge,  or  he  could 
hardly  have  lived  an  hour. 

2.  Incredible  as  the  supposition  is  of  a  pure  nature  with- 

A,]a,n    not    created       ^^^^  ^^^^itS  of  kuOwlcdgC,  it  is  UOt  SO  absUrd 

injiifiient  to  holiness  as  tlic  suppositlou  of  a  purc  moral  nature 
without  habits  of  righteousness.  There  is. 
no  middle  betwixt  sin  and  holiness.  Every  moral  being 
must  be  either  holy  or  sinful ;  there  is  no  such  state  as  that 
of  indifference.  The  will  is,  from  the  very  nature  of  the 
case,  under  formal  obligation  to  coincide  with  the  moral  law. 
There  is  no  moment  of  time  when  this  obligation  does  not 
hold.  It  must,  therefore,  in  order  that  the  man  may  not  be 
guilty,  incline  to  that  law,  so  that,  in  all  concrete  cases,  it 
shall  choose  the  right.  Hence,  to  say  that  man  had  simply 
the  capacity  to  become  holy  or  sinful,  but  that  at  his  creation 
he  was  neither,  is  to  say  that  there  was  a  time,  an  interval 
of  his  being,  when  he  was  under  no  moral  obligation,  and 
therefore  an  interval  of  his  existence  when  he  had  neither 
reason  nor  will ;  that  is,  it  is  a  plain  self-contradiction.  To 
be  indifferent  to  rectitude  is  itself  sin.  Hence,  it  is  clear  that 
man  must  have  had  determinate  moral  habits  of  some  sort, 
and  could  not  be  produced  in  purls  naturalibus.  An  infant 
now  has  a  determinate  moral  character.  It  may  not  actually 
have  sinned  in  specific  voluntary  acts,  but  its  will  is  im- 

232  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

bued  with  the  law  of  sin,  and  as  soon  as  it  wills  it  wills 

3.  The  Scripture  testimonies  upon  this  subject  may  be 
reduced  to  two  heads,  direct  and  indirect — 
of'scHpTure.'"*""''     ^hosc  which  explicitly  state  what  the  con- 
dition of  man  really  was,  and  those  which 
obviously  imply  it.     Let  us  consider  the  indirect  first : 
(1.)  Man   is  represented  as   in   possession  of  language. 
Now  language  without  thought  is  impossi- 
inttTerJ^ctiof "'     blc.     It  bccomcs  ncccssary  in  the  higher 
spheres  of  thought,  so  that  all  inference 
beyond  particulars  is  conditioned  upon  its  existence.     Adam 
had  language  in  its  most  difl&cult  and  complicated  relations. 
His  words  were  not  merely  proper  names,  or  expressive  of 
single,  individual  phenomena.      They  were  generic  terms, 
and  implied  the  distribution  of  the  objects  of  creation  into 
corresponding  classes.     "  And  Adam  gave  names  to  all  cat- 
tle, and  to  the  fowl  of  the  air  and  to  every  beast  of  the  field." 
To  suppose  that  he  appropriated  a  name  to  each  individual 
as   its  own   distinctive  title  is   simply  preposterous.      His 
vocabulary  would  have  to  be  boundless  and  his  memory 
equally  marvellous.     The  plain  meaning  is,  that  he  knew 
them  and  named  them  as  genera  and  species.     The  notion 
of  an  infant  conducting  such  a  process  is  fit  only  for  those 
who  have  not  yet  ceased  to  be  infants  themselves. 

(2.)  In  the  next  place.  Eve  was  evidently  framed  in  full 
maturity  as  a  woman.     She  was  recognized 

Eve  created  a   ma-       rAl  ±  Hj.  l  ±\ 

ture  woman.  "^7  Adam  at  ouce  as  a  nt  and  worthy  com- 

panion. Now  the  argument  from  this  cir- 
cumstance is  twofold :  If  Eve  were  created  in  such  matu- 
rity as  to  be  a  suitable  helj)  for  man,  why  not  Adam  have 
been  created  in  corresponding  perfection?  But  Eve  was 
created  on  the  same  day  with  Adam.  He  must,  therefore, 
have  marvellously  developed  in  a  few  hours  if  he  could  so 
soon  acquire  language,  learn  the  distribution  of  animals  and 
come  to  a  sense  of  his  own  need  of  society.  If  Eve  had 
been  created  in  the  infancy  of  either  mind  or  body,  and  he 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  233 

had  been  mature,  she  would  have  been  a  burden  and  not  a 
companion.  If  he  had  been  still  in  the  ignorance  and  im- 
becility of  infancy,  he  would  not  have  known  that  he  wanted 
an  associate.  Hence,  on  either  supposition  the  narrative 
becomes  contradictory  and  absurd.  But  admit  the  maturity 
of  Adam  as  to  mind  and  body,  and  the  whole  story  becomes 
simple  and  consistent.  No  one,  in  fact,  can  read  the  account 
of  the  creation  of  the  first  pair  without  being  struck  with 
the  impression  that  they  are  treated  from  the  very  first  as 
beings  who  have  the  use  of  their  reason,  and  who  are  fully 
at  home  in  their  new  circumstances  and  relations.  They 
understand  the  scene  in  which  they  are  placed.  They  are 
not  children,  but  adults — endowed  not  with  capacities  only, 
but  with  the  knowledge  that  enlarges  and  exercises  them. 
(3.)  The  command  to  the  first  pair,  "  to  be  fruitful  and 
„,  .    ,         multiply,  and  replenish  the  earth  and  sub- 

They     received     a  r  J  ?  i 

commission  involving  duc  it,  and  liavc  domiuiou  over  the  fish  of 
the  sea  and  over  the  fowl  of  the  air,  and 
over  every  living  thing  that  moveth  upon  the  earth,"  be- 
comes absolutely  ludicrous  if  conceived  as  addressed  to  in- 
fants or  children.  It  implies  a  complicated  and  extensive 
knowledge — a  knowledge  of  the  creatures  and  a  knowledge 
of  God,  and  a  knowledge  of  themselves — as  the  indispensable 
condition  of  understanding,  much  more  of  fulfilling,  the 
Divine  mandate.  All  finite  power  is  exerted  through  knoAV- 
ledge,  and  as  the  dominion  of  man  was  to  be  the  dominion 
of  intelligence  and  reason,  it  implied  an  apprehension  of 
the  nature  and  relations  of  the  objects  to  which  it  extended. 
These  three  circumstances — that  man  is  represented  as  in 
possession  of  language  and  the  knowledge  which  language 
necessarily  symbolizes ;  that  he  felt  his  need  of  companion- 
ship on  the  very  day  of  his  creation  and  received  a  help 
suited  to  his  wants ;  and  that  he  received  a  commission  in- 
volving a  very  high  degree  of  intelligence  in  order  to  con- 
vey any  meaning  to  his  mind — are  grounds  from  which  we 
may  confidently  conclude  that  man  was  not  created  in  a 
state  of  pure  nature ;  that  he  was  something  more  than  a 


234  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

realization  of  the  logical  essence  of  the  sjoecies.  He  must 
have  had  the  accidents  which  though  logically  separable 
can  never  be  separated  in  every  degree  from  his  nature. 
(4.)  The  general  tenor  of  the  narrative  contradicts,  too, 
the  notion  that  in  his  primitive  condition 
he  was  a  savage,  rude  and  uncivilized,  de- 
voted to  sensual  indulgences  and  ignorant 
of  a  higher  end.  The  knowledge  of  the  creatures  which  he 
possessed,  enabling  him  to  classify  and  distinguish  them, 
far  transcends  in  its  extent  and  accuracy  the  rough  and  pal- 
pable discriminations  of  the  savage.  His  relish  of  compan- 
ionship shows  a  development  of  social  ties  which  is  of  the 
very  essence  of  refined  life.  And  his  commission  to  multi- 
ply and  replenish  the  earth,  and  to  make  nature  the  obedient 
minister  of  his  will,  implies  a  state  of  mind  exactly  the 
reverse  of  that  which  delights  in  war  and  destruction,  and 
in  which  the  only  monuments  of  jDOwer  that  are  prized  are 
monuments  of  ruin.  The  command  implies  a  spirit  of  love 
to  the  species  and  of  regard  to  the  other  creatures  of  God 
totally  incompatible  with  the  fierce  and  vindictive  passions 
that  characterize  savage  life.  Adam,  in  the  picture  of 
Moses,  was  no  barbarian.  He  is  the  loving  father  of  the 
posterity  contained  in  his  loins,  the  tender  and  aifcctionate 
husband,  and  the  considerate  master  of  this  lower  world. 
His  mission  is  to  bless  and  not  to  blast,  to  promote  and 
not  destroy  the  happiness  of  his  subjects.  Tliese  are  the 
impressions  which  the  narrative  makes  apart  from  any 
express  and  positive  declarations  as  to  the  state  and 
condition  of  man.  This  is  their  general  and  pervading 

4.  But  evidently  as  these  considerations  refute  the  notion 
of  an  infantile  or  savage  commencement 

These     testimonies  />    ,  i  ,^  ,  /v>    •       x    j_ 

not    definite  as    to     of  the  racc,  thcy  are  not  sufficient  to  give 
Adam's  knowledge  or     ^^g  precise  aud  definite  information  in  rela- 

holiness.  ^ 

tion  to  the  condition  of  the  first  man. 
They  show  him  to  have  been  intelligent,  refined  and  civil- 
ized, but  they  do  not  reveal  to  us  the  extent  of  his  know- 

Lect.    X.]  MAN.  235 

ledge,  nor  the  degree  of  perfection  which  as  a  moral  being 
he  enjoyed. 

(1.)  Upon  the  first  point  the  Scriptures  are  nowhere  ex- 
upon  the  first  point  pli^'^*'  Thcj  Icavc  US  in  the  dark  as  to 
the  Scriptures  are  uot  tJic  amouut  of  natural  kuowledgc — that  is, 
the  amount  of  knowledge  in  relation  to  the 
objects  and  laws  of  the  universe — which  he  possessed.  It 
was  substantially  what  every  man  who  reaches  maturity 
must  acquire  from  experience.  The  naming  of  the  whole 
animal  creation  would  seem  to  intimate  that  it  was  much 
more.  It  is  useless  to  speculate  without  data,  and  M'here  we 
have  only  hints  we  should  not  push  our  conclusions  beyond 
them.  AYe  should  avoid  the  extreme  of  considering  Adam 
as  endowed  with  faculties  which  intuitively  penetrated  into 
the  whole  scheme  of  the  universe,  and  laid  the  treasures  of 
all  human  science  at  his  feet,  while  we  insist  upon  the  ma- 
turity of  reason  which  must  have  pertained  to  him.  The 
Scholastics  erred  in  attributing  to  him  too  much ;  the  Socin- 
ians  and  many  modern  divines  have  equally  erred  in  attrib- 
uting to  him  too  little. 

(2.)  But  in  reference  to  his  moral  condition  the  Scriptures 
are  very  explicit.     They  have  left  no  room 

but  upon   the  second        n  i        i   ,  xx-  •       -i'  <     , 

very  explicit.  ^^r  douot.     His  primitive   state  is  repre- 

sented as  a  state  of  integrity,  in  which  every 
part  of  his  constitution  was  adapted  to  the  end  for  which 
he  was  created.  This  is  what  is  meant  when  it  is  said  that 
he  was  made  upright.  As  the  end  of  his  creation  was  moral, 
he  must  have  possessed  the  knowledge  and  the  dispositions 
which  were  necessary  to  the  attainment  of  it.  As  the  moral 
law  bound  him  from  the  first  pulsation  of  his  life,  that  law 
must  have  been  impressed  upon  his  nature,  and  his  first  acts 
of  consciousness  must  have  been  in  conformity  with  its  spirit. 
It  must  have  been  written  upon  his  heart ;  it  must  have 
formed  an  original  element  of  his  being.  That  this  was  the 
case  is  articulately  taught  in  all  those  passages  which  repre- 
sent him  as  bearing  in  his  primitive  condition  "  the  image  of 
God."     The  proper  explication  of  this  phrase  will  explain 

236  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

the  perfection  of  his  moral  state.  A  slight 
hastwo'sTnfrs°    "        examination  will  show  that  it  is  used  in  a 

looser  or  stricter  sense.  In  a  looser  sense 
it  indicates  those  spiritual  proj^erties  which  belong  to  man 
as  a  person — the  faculties  of  intelligence,  conscience  and 
will.  But  a  close  inspection  will  show  that  even  in  the 
passages  in  which  the  phrase  is  thus  loosely  taken  there  lies 
at  the  foundation  a  tacit  reference  to  the  other  and  stricter 
meaning.  For  example,  in  Gen.  ix.  6  :  "  Whoso  sheddeth 
man's  blood,  by  man  shall  his  blood  be  shed ;  for  in  the 
image  of  God  made  He  man ;"  the  argument  manifestly 
turns  upon  the  moral  nature  of  man,  the  rights  which  con- 
sequently accrue  to  him,  and  the  perfection  which  he  is  pre- 
cluded from  attaining  by  prcmatui'e  death.  So  James  ex- 
poses the  wickedness  of  cursing  our  fellow-men  because  they 
are  made  after  the  similitude  of  God — that  is,  moral  perfec- 
tion is  their  destiny,  that  to  which  they  should  aspire,  and 
of  which  they  are  capable.  The  reason  that  the  phrase  is 
transferred  to  our  spiritual  and  personal  nature  apart  from 
any  direct  implication  of  positive  holiness,  is  that  this  nature 
is  the  indispensable  condition  of  holiness ;  it  is  the  subject 
in  which  that  must  inhere.  Hence  it  has  been  called  the 
natural  or  fundamental  image  of  God ;  it  is  the  condition 
on  which  alone  man  can  realize  that  image.  But  the  strict 
The  strict  and  prop-  ^ud  propcr  acccptatiou  of  the  phrase  is 
er  sense  is  holiness,     holiucss — holiucss   of  uaturc,   or   habitual 

manifested    in   know-       it  t      •  •   i       i     f 

ledge  and  rigiiteous-  holincss,  as  contradistiuguished  irom  spe- 
''®^^'  cific  exercises  or  acts.     The  decisive  pas- 

sages are  Eph.  iv.  23,  24 ;  Col,  iii.  10.  From  these  pas- 
sages we  learn  that  the  image  of  God  consists  generally  in 
true  holiness,  and  that  this  holiness,  as  the  universal  spirit 
or  temper  of  the  man,  manifests  itself  in  knowledge  and 
righteousness.  It  is  that  state  of  mind  which  })roduces 
these  results.  To  define  it  more  accurately  we  must  ascer- 
tain the  meaning  of  the  terms  knowledge  and  righteousness, 
as  liere  used  by  the  apostle.  Here  we  are  at  no  loss.  It  is 
the  knowledge  of  God  which  results  in  faith,  love  and  true 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  237 

religion.     It  is,  in  other  words,  a  spiritual  perception  of  His 

beauty,  excellence  and  glory.    Adam,  as  en- 

i      .^?     /n  1  "^     dowed  with  this  knowledge,  looked  abroad 

knowledge  of  Uou,  o    ? 

upon  the  creation  and  saw  what  science 
with  all  its  discoveries  so  often  fails  to  discern — the  traces 
of  the  Divine  glory.  He  saw  God  in  all  above,  beneath, 
around.  Nature  was  a  vast  mirror,  reflecting  the  Divine 
beauty,  and  as  he  saw  he  loved  and  adored.  God  to  him  was 
everywhere  present ;  the  whole  universe  was  full  of  his  name. 
It  was  written  upon  the  starry  vault,  the  extended  plain,  the 
lofty  mountain,  the  boundless  sea ;  upon  every  living  thing, 
from  the  reptile  that  creeps  upon  the  ground  or  the  tiny  in- 
sect that  flutters  in  the  breeze,  to  the  huge  leviathan  or  his 
own  noble  frame  and  nobler  soul.  The  first  light  of  day  that 
beamed  upon  his  eyes  was  accompanied  with  a  richer  light  that 
radiated  from  his  soul,  and  clothed  all  nature  in  the  garb  of 
Divine  beauty  and  loveliness.  He  knew  God  with  a  spiritual 
discernment  as  a  being  to  be  loved,  feared,  trusted,  worsliipped. 
This  was  holiness  as  it  irradiates  the  understanding:.  This 
knowledge  of  God  in  the  creature  is  the  perfection  of  know- 
ledge. Science,  until  it  reaches  this  point,  does  but  fumble. 
It  misses  the  very  life  of  true  knowledge ;  it  is  only  a  learned 
and  pompous  ignorance. 

But  this  habit  of  spiritual  discernment  was  accompanied 

with  righteousness  or  rectitude  of  disposition 

and  also  this  rectitude.  .  ^  i    .  ^  . 

— that  IS,  a  state  of  soul  m  conformity  with 
the  requisitions  of  the  Divine  law — a  propensity  to  universal 
obedience.  The  law  was  the  bent  of  his  being.  As  soon  as 
the  concrete  occasions  should  present  themselves,  he  had  that 
within  him  which  would  at  once  reveal  and  incline  to  the 
right.  The  intuitive  perception  and  the  prompt  disposition 
manifested  his  holiness,  and  induced  all  forms  of  actual  right- 
eousness which  his  circumstances  and  relations  demanded. 

This,  then,  was  the  primitive  condition  of^ 

The  primitive  con-         »    t  tt  i      •      j^i        •  p  r^     -i 

dition  of  the  first  man.     Adam.     He  was  made  in  the  niiage  of  God 

— as  being  an  upright  creature,  with  reason 

enlightened  in  the  spiritual  knowledge  of  God  as  that  know- 

238  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

ledge  was  mediated  through  the  creatures,  with  a  will  prone 
to  obey  the  dictates  of  reason  thus  enlightened  and  therefore 
in  accordance  with  the  spirit  of  the  Divine  law.  He  knew 
his  relations  to  God,  his  relations  to  his  wife,  his  relations  to 
his  children  and  his  relations  to  the  world ;  and  knew  them 
with  that  spiritual  apprehension  which  converted  his  know- 
ledge into  one  continued  act  of  religion. 

That  true  holiness  is  the  strict  and  proper  sense  of  the 
image  of  God,  appears  from  the  contrast 
sonai^anrspii-itulfnT  bctwlxt  thc  iuiagc  of  God  aud  that  of  the 
tnre,  but  not  the  image  Pevil.  If  the  posscssiou  of  a  pcrsoual, 
spiritual  nature  were  the  image  of  God,  the 
Devil  and  his  angels  would  bear  it.  But  their  image  is,  in 
the  Scriptures,  made  directly  contradictory  to  the  image  of 
God.  Hence,  that  image  must  consist  in  those  moral  per- 
fections which  Satan  has  lost,  and  which  man,  since  the  fall, 
acquires  only  by  a  new  creation. 

The  holiness  which  man  possessed  at  his  creation  was 

In  what  sense  the     natural— uot  in  the  logical  sense  that  it  per- 

hoiiness  of  Adam  was     taiucd  to  liis  csseuce  as  man,  or  was  a  prop- 

natural.  .  i  i       r-  •       i  •  i 

erty  inseparable  irom  it,  but  m  the  sense 
that  it  coexisted  as  a  habit  with  that  nature.  Man  was  not 
first  created  and  then  holiness  infused,  but  holiness  was  con- 
created  with  him.  He  was  holy  as  soon  as  he  began  to  be. 
Hence  it  is  not  scriptural,  with  the  Papists,  to  make  it  a 
supernatural  gift,  something  superadded  to  nature  by  grace. 
It  was  no  more  of  grace  than  creation  itself  was  of  grace.  It 
was  the  inheritance  of  his  nature — the  birth-right  of  his  being. 
It  was  the  state  in  which  all  his  faculties  received  their  form. 
5.  We  have  now  considered  the  distinguishing  character- 
istics of  man,  and  the  condition  in  which  he  was  when  he 
came  from  the  hands  of  his  Creator.  "VVe  have  seen  that  he 
was  neither  an  infant  nor  a  savage,  but  a  man — in  the  full 
maturity  of  his  powers,  endowed  with  knowledge,  righteous- 
ness and  holiness,  and  prepared  to  enter  at  once  upon  the 
career  assigned  him  as  a  moral  and  responsible  creature.  As 
long  as  he  retained  his  integrity,  he  enjoyed  the  blessedness 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  239 

which  springs  from  the  harmony  of  a  soul  proportioned  and 

balanced  in  all  its  powers,  and  from  the  consciousness  of  the 

favour  of  God  and  the  exercise  of  communion  with  Him. 

.  J    ,  ,  ,.         ,      But  it  remains  to  be  added,  in  order  to  com- 

Aclam  8  holiness  nat-  ' 

uiai,  but  not  in<\ofect-  pletc  tlic  picturc  of  mau's  primitive  estate, 
that  his  holiness,  though  natural,  was  not 
indefectible.  He  was  liable  to  fall.  That  man,  as  a  creature, 
was  necessarily  mutable,  in  the  sense  that  he  was  capable  of 
indefinite  improvement — of  passing  from  one  degree  of  ex- 
pansion to  another — is  easily  understood ;  but  that  a  holy 
being  should  be  capable  of  a  change  from  the  good  to  the 
bad — that  he  should  be  able  to  reverse  the  uprightness  of  his 
make,  to  disorder  his  whole  inward  constitution,  to  derange 
its  proportions  and  the  regulative  principles  of  its  actions — is 
one  of  the  most  difficult  propositions  that  we  encounter  in 
the  sphere  of  theology.  Hoav  could  sin  enter  where  all  was 
right  ?  If  the  understanding  rejoiced  in  truth,  the  will  in 
rectitude,  and  the  affections  in  the  truly  beautiful  and  good, 
how  could  error,  impurity  and  deformity  find  a  lodgment 
within  the  soul  ?  What  was  to  suggest  the  thought  of  any- 
thing so  monstrous  and  unnatural  ?  It  is  clear  that  there 
must  have  been  some  defect  in  the  moral  state  of  man  at  his 
creation,  in  consequence  of  which  he  was  liable  to  fill — some 
defect  in  consequence  of  which  he  might  be  deceived,  taking 
falsehood  for  truth,  and  confounding  the  colours  of  good  and 
evil.     When  we  speak  of  a  defect,  we  do 

What  was  the  defect  ?  , 

not  intend  to  convey  the  notion  that  any- 
thing Avas  wanting  to  quali^^  man  for  his  destiny ;  but  that 
whatever  the  difference  is  betwixt  a  state  of  confirmed  holi- 
ness and  a  state  of  untried  holiness,  that  difference  was  the 
secret  of  the  possibility  of  sin ;  and  the  absence  of  what  is 
implied  in  confirmation  is  a  defect.  It  was  something  which 
man  had  to  supply  by  the  exercise  of  his  own  will  in  a  course 
of  uniform  obedience  to  God.  It  is  certain  that  no  creatures, 
either  angels  or  men,  have  been  created  in  immutable  integ- 
rity. Sin  has  entered  into  both  worlds,  and  it  is  equally 
clear  that  there  is  a  great  difference  betwixt  beings  in  whom 

240  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

holiness  has  become,  as  it  is  with  God,  a  necessity  of  nature, 
and  beings  who  are  yet  caj^able  of  being  blinded  with  error 
and  seduced  into  transgression.     But  are  we  able  to  say  pre- 
cisely what  this  difference  is  ?     Are  we  able 

A    problem    to    be,  -j^xi  ii  Ijt  i 

gjji^gjj  to  point  out  how  the  understanding  can  be 

deceived  and  the  will  perverted  in  the  case 
of  any  being  that  possesses  a  sound  moral  and  intellectual 
constitution  ?  This  problem,  which  may  be  called  the  psy- 
chological possibility  of  sin,  is  confessedly  one  of  great  diffi- 
culty. The  solutions  which  have  been  attempted  are  un- 
satisfactory ;  either  as  denying  some  of  the 

Unsatisfactory  solu-  x*    l    j^     j.         i'  j_i  j^    i    x* 

tions  of  it.  essential  lacts  oi  the  case ;    or  postulating 

principles  which  are  contradictory  to  con- 
sciousness; or  reducing  the  first  sin  to  an  insignificance 
utterly  incompatible  with  the  Divine  providence  in  relation 
to  it. 

(1.)  The  Pelagian  has  no  difficulty,  because  man  at  his 
creation  had  no  character.  His  will  was 
indifferent  to  good  or  evil ;  he  could  choose 
the  one  as  readily  as  the  other.  Upon  this  scheme  there  is 
really  no  problem  to  be  solved.  But  the  scheme  itself  con- 
tradicts one  of  the  essential  facts  in  the  case.  It  contradicts 
the  fact  that  man  was  made  in  the  image  of  God ;  that  holi- 
ness was  a  constitutional  endowment ;  that  the  same  grace 
Avhich  made  him  a  creature  made  him  upright. 

(2.)  The  Papist — that  is,  one  school  of  theology  among  the 
Papists — finds  in  the  blindness  of  our  im- 
pulses, which  it  calls  concupiscence,  a  suffi- 
cient explanation  of  the  difficulty.  Our  impulses  in  them- 
selves possess  no  moral  character ;  they  have  a  natural  tend- 
ency to  excesses  and  irregularities ;  the  mere  existence  of 
these  irregular  desires  is  not  sin,  and  therefore  not  inconsistent 
with  integrity  of  make.  And  yet  they  may  prove  stronger 
than  reason;  they  may  bewitch  the  understanding  by  soph- 
istry, and  cajole  the  will  by  false  appearances  of  good,  and 
thus  seduce  man  into  sin.  Reason,  indeed,  is  no  security 
against  them  in  a  state  of  innocence  without  supernatural 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  241 

grace.  This  theory  labours  under  the  fatal  defect  of  denying 
that  to  be  sin  which  the  Scriptures  affirm  to  be  sin.  Our 
impulses  are  not  destitute  of  moral  character  when  they  be- 
come irregular  or  excessive.  They  are  as  much  under  law 
as  any  other  part  of  our  nature.  The  very  terms  irregular 
and  excessive  imply  as  much ;  and  a  constitution,  therefore, 
is  not  sound  which  generates  passions  and  appetites  incon- 
sistent with  the  supreme  end  of  the  individual.  Paul  makes 
concupiscence  to  be  not  only  sin  itself,  but  the  fruitful  mother 
of  sin.  Of  course,  if  we  give  the  mother,  under  whatever 
specious  name,  a  residence  in  man's  nature,  we  need  not  be 
surprised  that  she  is  soon  surrounded  with  the  children.  To 
say  that  our  impulses  have  no  moral  character  is  to  contradict 
all  human  consciousness.  Our  desires,  our  appetites,  our 
hopes,  our  fears,  all  have  a  determinate  relation  to  the  will, 
which  brings  them  within  the  sphere  of  moral  responsibility, 
and  makes  them  the  real  exponent  of  a  man's  character. 
We  measure  our  approbation  of  others  more  by  these  passive 
impressions  than  by  the  acts  which  are  the  immediate  pro- 
ducts of  will. 

(3.)  A  theory  akin  to  this,  but  modifying  its  most  offensive 
feature,  is  that  of  Bishop  Butler,  so  ably 

Bishop  Butler's  theory.  ,..  ,  ,,  ,. 

and  ingeniously  and  modestly  presented  in 
the  Analogy  of  Religion.  It  proceeds  from  the  same  prin- 
ciple of  the  blindness  of  impulse  ;  that  is,  that  all  our  simple 
emotions  are  excited,  independently  of  the  will,  by  the  pres- 
ence, real  or  ideal,  of  their  proper  objects.  There  are  quali- 
ties in  things  which  cannot  be  contemplated  Avithout  awa- 
kening these  feelings.  The  eye  affects  the  heart.  The  ap- 
prehension of  danger  has  a  natural  tendency  to  generate 
dread ;  the  prospect  of  good  elicits  hope ;  the  sight  of  misery 
produces  pity ;  and  the  contemplation  of  meanness  and  filth 
produces  disgust.  The  emotion  is  awakened  without  the  in- 
tervention of  the  will,  without  the  deliberation  of  the  under- 
standing or  the  verdict  of  reason.  The  mere  apprehension 
of  the  object  does  the  work.  Now,  Butler  does  not  postulate 
that  in  a  sound  state  of  the  mind  any  impulses  tending  to 

Vol.  I.— 16 

242  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

sin  could  exist ;  lie  does  not  lodge  in  us  a  concupiscence,  in 
its  natural  promptings,  contradictory  to  reason  and  to  con- 
science, and  here  he  avoids  the  Papal  extravagance.  In  a 
sound  state  of  the  mind  our  j)assive  impressions  coincide 
with  rectitude,  but  still  they  are  not  elicited  by  a  conscious- 
ness of  rectitude.  ISTo  act  of  intelligent  thought  precedes 
them,  and  as  thus  excited,  without  any  previous  estimate  of 
the  value  of  their  objects,  they  are  blind ;  and  here  is  a 
defect  in  our  nature,  which,  though  not  sin  itself,  may  open 
the  door  for  sin.  The  security  against  this  defect  is  the 
forming  of  a  habit  of  never  yielding  to  an  impulse,  or  per- 
mitting it  to  influence  the  will  without  reflection.  The 
danger  of  the  impulse  is  that  we  may  act  without  thought ; 
the  security  is  a  habit,  formed  by  a  course  of  vigilance,  of 
never  acting  Avithout  thought.  But  it  may  be  asked.  If  the 
impulses  coincide  with  rectitude,  what  danger  is  there  for 
betraying  us  into  sin?  None,  if  man's  determinations 
always  centred  only  upon  wdiat  is  essentially  right.  If 
nothing  were  ever  presented  to  his  choice  but  what  was  in- 
trinsically evil  or  intrinsically  good,  there  is  no  danger  of 
his  passive  impressions  misleading  him.  But  things  indif- 
ferent, neither  good  nor  evil  in  themselves,  may  be  rendered 
subjects  of  positive  command.  They  are  suited  in  their  own 
nature  to  excite  our  emotions.  These  emotions  are  not  sinful 
in  themselves,  as  their  objects  are  not  sinful  in  themselves. 
Under  the  influence  of  these  emotions  the  will  may  be  in- 
clined to  the  unlawful  indulgence,  the  understanding  may  be 
tempted  to  plead  for  it,  and  thus  sin  and  error  be  introduced 
from  the  impulses  of  man  coming  in  collision  with  positive 
commands  in  relation  to  things  inherently  indifferent.  This 
is  a  brief  outline  of  the  psychological  explanation  of  that 
great  master  of  thought,  in  a  work  which  will  live  as  long 
as  sound  philosophy  has  votaries. 

There  are  some  circumstances  in  the  biblical  narrative  of 
the  temptation  of  our  first  parents  that  seem  to  coincide  with 
this  account.  The  prohibition  which  constituted  the  test  of 
man's  obedience  did  not  relate  to  a  malum  in  se;  the  eating 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  243 

or  abstaining  from  a  given  fruit  was  in  itself  indifferent,  and 
only  brought  into  the  moral  sphere  by  the  accidental  cir- 
cumstance of  a  positive  command.  That  fruit  had  the  same 
tendency  to  provoke  appetite  as  any  other  fruit  in  the  gar- 
den, and  accordingly  Eve  is  represented  as  arrested  by  its 
promising  appearance  as  food  and  its  fitness  to  make  one 
wise.  "  And  when  the  woman  saw  that  the  tree  was  good 
for  food,  and  that  it  was  pleasant  to  the  eyes,  and  a  tree  to 
be  desired  to  make  one  wise,  she  took  of  the  fruit  thereof, 
and  did  eat,  and  gave  also  unto  her  husband  with  her,  and 
he  did  eat." 

But  plausible  as  this  hypothesis  is,  it  is  exposed  to  objec- 
tions which  are  not  easily  resolved. 

In  the  first  place,  it  accounts  only  for  the  sin  of  Eve.  It 
might  be  said  that  Adam  was  seduced  bv 

Two  objections  to  it.  ,  ,  ,  *' 

the  passive  impression  of  love  to  his  wife, 
had  not  the  apostle  told  us  that  the  man  was  not  deceived. 
It  is  remarkable  that  when  the  guilty  pair  were  summoned 
before  their  Judge,  the  woman  puts  in  the  plea  that  she  had 
been  beguiled,  she  had  been  cheated  and  taken  in,  but  the 
man  ventures  on  no  such  allegation.  He  simply  says : 
"  The  woman  whom  thou  gavest  to  be  with  me,  she  gave  me 
of  the  tree  and  I  did  eat." 

Again,  this  theory  diminishes  the  malignity  of  the  first 
sin.  It  becomes  an  act  of  inadvertence  or  inattention.  It 
was  an  error  incident  to  a  suspension  of  vigilance,  and  spring- 
ing from  principles  which  constituted  a  part  of  human  nature. 
To  suppose  that  man  was  merely  taken  in,  and  did  not  mean 
to  transgress  the  law  of  God,  that  he  sinned  ignorantly  and 
by  involuntary  mistake,  is  to  make  a  representation  which 
every  moral  understanding  will  instantly  pronounce  to  fall 
far  short  of  the  intense  rebellion  which  the  Scriptures  uni- 
formly ascribe  to  the  first  sin  of  the  first  man.  It  was  a 
fiilling  away  from  God;  a  deliberate  renunciation  of  the 
claims  of  the  Creator ;  a  revolt  from  God  to  the  creature, 
which  involved  a  complete  inversion  of  the  moral  destiny 
of  man.     We  cannot  avoid  the  feeling  that  if  Butler's  ex- 

244  MAN.  [Lect.  X, 

planation  is  the  whole  of  the  matter,  our  first  parents  were 
deserving  of  pity  rather  than  severe  reprobation — their 
offence  was  weakness  and  not  deliberate  guilt. 

The  common  explanation  in  all  the  orthodox  creeds  is, 
that  the  true  ground  of  the  solution  is  to 

Orthodox  aolution.  i         •         i  ^     i  mi         -nr 

be  sought  m  the  nature  oi  the  will.  Man 
is  represented  as  having  fallen  because  he  was  left  to  the 
freedom  of  his  own  will.  His  transgression  was  voluntary, 
and  as  voluntary  had  to  be  deliberate.  His  sin  was  done 
on  principle.  It  was  not  an  accident,  but  a  serious,  solemn 
and  deliberate  rejection  of  the  Most  High  as  his  God  and 
portion.  But  this,  it  will  be  seen,  is  not  a  solution  of  the 
problem,  but  the  statement  in  another  form  of  the  fact  to  be 
explained.  The  only  approach  which  it  makes  to  a  genuine 
solution  is  in  indicating  the  sphere  in  which  the  solution 
must  be  sought — the  sphere  of  the  will.  There  must  be 
something  in  freedom  before  it  has  become  necessity  of 
nature  out  of  which  the  possibility  of  sin  can  arise.  We 
must,  therefore,  turn  our  attention  to  this  point,  and  ascer- 
tain, if  we  can,  what  is  the  difference  between  freedom 
as  necessity  and  freedom  as  the  beginning  of  a  moral 

Freedom  as  necessity  of  nature  is  the  highest  perfection 

of  a  creature.  It  is  the  end  and  aim  of 
sif  "^ornatiire  "'^'^^^      ^^^  moral  culturc.     When  a  being  has  the 

principles  of  rectitude  so  thoroughly  in- 
wrought into  the  whole  texture  of  the  soul,  when  it  is  so 
thoroughly  pervaded  by  their  presence  and  power,  as  that 
they  constitute  the  life  of  all  thought  and  of  all  determina- 
tion, holiness  stands  in  the  most  inseparable  relation  to  it  in 
which  it  can  be  conceived  to  stand  to  a  creature.  This  is  to 
be  pre-eminently  like  God,  who  is  perfect  truth  and  perfect 
righteousness.  This  entire  subjection  to  the  law  of  God,  in 
which  it  becomes  so  completely  identified  with  ourselves 
that  we  cannot  think  or  act  in  contradiction  to  it,  is  the 
ideal  of  freedom  which  the  Scriptures  propose  to  us  as  our 
inheritance  in  Christ.     This  is  eternal  life.     Now,  at  the 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  245 

commencement  of  a  moral  career,  our  upright  constitution 
has  not  been  completely  identified  with  our 

Freedom  not  yet  de-  Tj.        i  -j.    i  j.     '        'j.     i. 

liberateiy  chosen.  personality,  bccausc  It  has  not,  m  its  ten- 

dencies and  disj)Ositions,  been  taken  up  by 
our  wills  and  deliberately  chosen  and  adopted.  It  is  the 
determination  of  the  will  which  fixes  our  natural  disposi- 
tions as  principles.  When  they  are  reviewed  by  the  under- 
standing and  deliberately  chosen  by  the  will,  they  then  be- 
come ours  in  a  nearer  and  closer  sense ;  they  are  reflectively 
approved,  reflectively  endorsed,  and  through  that  energy  by 
which  acts  generate  a  habit  they  become  fixed  elements  of 
our  life.  If  such  an  exercise  of  reflection  and  such  an  act 
of  will  must  supervene  in  order  to  impregnate  our  person- 
ality with  holiness  and  to  convert  native  dispositions  into 
settled  principles,  it  is  evident  that  there  must  be  in  the 
primitive  condition  of  a  moral  being  occasions  in  which  it 
stands  face  to  face  with  its  own  nature  and  destiny,  and  on 
which  it  must  determine  whether  the  bent  of  that  nature 
shall  be  followed  and  its  true  normal  development  promoted, 
or  whether  it  shall  choose  against  nature  another  course  and 
reverse  its  proper  destiny.  If  the  will  has  to  decide  the 
case,  the  issue  must  be  made.  Good  and  evil  must  stand 
in  actual  contrast,  and  there  must  be  postulated  under  these 
circumstances  a  power — wilful,  heady,  perverse,  yet  a  real 
power — to  resist  truth  and  duty.  God  gives  man  a  constitu- 
tion that  points  to  Himself  as  the  supreme  good.  He  places 
before  him  the  nature  and  consequences  of  evil  as  the  con- 
trast of  the  good.  If  man  chooses  the  good,  he  fixes  it  in 
his  very  person ;  it  becomes  so  grounded  in  the  will  that 
the  will  can  never  swerve  from  it.  If  he  chooses  the  evil, 
he  also  grounds  that  in  the  will ;  it  becomes  a  part  of  his 
very  person ;  he  becomes  a  slave,  and  can  never  more,  by 
any  power  in  himself,  will  the  good  or  attain  to  it. 

This  I  take  to  be  the  sense  of  the  great  body  of  the  Re- 

Tiiis  the  doctrine  of     formed  thcologiaus,  and  of  all  the  Reformed 

Calvin,  of  our  Confes-     Confessious  that  havc  expressly  embraced 

sion  and  of  Turrettin,  ,  t  •       ,  Ti     •  i  r^    -i     •  ^ 

the  subject,     it  is  what  (Jalvin  means  by 

246  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

"  an  indifferent  and  mutable  will,"  wliicli  he  attributes  to 
man  in  his  state  of  infancy.  It  is  what  the  Westminster 
Confession  means  when  it  affirms  that  man  had  originally 
"  freedom  and  power  to  will  and  to  do  that  which  is  good 
and  well  pleasing  to  God,  but  yet  mutably,  so  that  he  might 
fall  from  it."  Turrettin^  resolves  the  first  sin  into  the 
"  mutability  and  liberty  of  man."  "  The  j^roximate  and 
proper  cause  of  sin,  therefore,"  says  he,  "  is  to  be  sought 
only  in  the  free-will  of  man,  who  suffered  himself  to  be 
deceived  by  the  devil,  and  at  the  instigation  of  Satan 
freely  revolted  from  God."  Howe  has  articulately  discussed 
these  views. 

This   account  of  the  matter  is  fundamentally  different 

and  fundamentally  dif-       f^'O^    ^^^    PclagiaU    hypothcsls    of  the    Uat- 

ferent  from  the  Peia-  ural  indiffcrcuce  of  the  will  to  the  distinc- 
tions of  right  and  wrong.  On  the  other 
hand,  it  recognizes  the  law  of  God  as  the  normal  jjrinciple 
of  the  will ;  it  maintains,  farther,  that  the  spontaneous  actions 
of  man,  all  his  impulses,  desires  and  primitive  volitions, 
were  in  conformity  with  that  law.  His  spontaneity  was  all 
right.  It  was  reflectively  that  the  will  renounced  its  law, 
changed  its  own  tendencies,  made  out  and  out  a  new  deter- 
mination. The  reflective  man,  when  the  ground  or  root  of 
action  was  to  be  himself,  perverted  the  spontaneous  man 
whose  ground  of  action  was  in  God.  The  will  did  not  first 
make  a  character,  but  change  a  character ;  did  not  first  give 
man  a  moral  disposition,  but  perverted  the  dispositions 
which  God  had  given.  By  this  theory  we  preserve  the 
Scripture  testimony  concerning  man's  possession  of  the  im- 
age of  God,  and  harmonize  the  malignity  which  the  sacred 
writers  everywhere  ascribe  to  the  first  sin  of  the  first  man. 
To  unfold  the  psychological  process  which  led  to  such  a 
perversion  of  his  nature  is  perhaps  impossible ;  we  are  not 
sufficiently  acquainted  with  the  mystery  of  the  will.  All 
that  we  can  say  is,  that  it  possessed  this  power  of  arbitrary 
self-determination,  in  defiance  of  reason,  conscience  and 
^  Locus  ix.,  Quest.  7. 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  247 

nature,  as  an  essential  element  of  its  being.  We  have  the 
traces  of  the  same  power  in  arbitrary  resistance  to  our  own 
reason  and  conscience  in  many  events  of  our  present  fallen 
condition.  We  have  lost  all  holiness,  but  there  are  often 
cases  in  the  ordinary  sphere  of  our  activity  where  our  de- 
terminations seem  to  be  obstinately  wilful  and  capricious. 
They  seem  made  only  to  assert  our  own  intense  egoism. 

But  whatever  explanation  may  be  given  of  the  possibility 
of  sin,  we  know  that  it  now  exists,  and  that  the  seeds  of  it 
were  not  implanted  in  the  nature  of  man  as  he  came  from 
the  hands  of  God.  It  is  no  normal  development  of  his  facul- 
ties or  life.  He  has  introduced  it,  and  therefore  we  are  com- 
pelled to  say  that  his  primitive  condition,  though  holy  and 
happy,  was  mutable.  He  was  not  established  in  his  integrity. 
His  noble  accomplishments  were  contingent. 

III.  Having  now  considered  the  essential  elements  of 
humanity,  and  the  condition  in  which  the 

The   end    of  ruau's       />      ,  i     i     •<  •         i       •  • 

gj.^a^tio„  nrst  man  was  created,  it  remams  to  inquire 

w^hat  was  the  immediate  end  of  his  creation, 
and  what  the  relation  in  which,  as  a  moral  creature,  he  stood 
to  God.  His  chief  end  was  evidently  to  give  glory  to  God. 
He  was  to  learn  more  and  more  of  God  from  the  Divine 
works,  and  the  administration  of  that  great  scheme  of  pro- 
vidence which  was  beginning  to  unfold  itself  before  him. 
He  was  to  render  to  the  Almighty  in  his  own  name,  and  in 
the  name  of  all  the  creatures  over  whom  he  had  been  consti- 
tuted the  head,  the  tribute  of  adoration  and  gratitude  which 
the  Divine  goodness  demanded.  He  was  the  high  priest  of 
nature ;  and  every  mute  tiling,  every  dumb  beast,  every 
lifeless  plant,  the  majestic  heavens,  the  verdant  earth,  the 
rolling  sea,  mountains,  cataracts  and  plains — every  province 
of  being  in  which  he  saw  the  traces  of  the  Divine  hand — 
were  to  find  their  tongue  in  him  and  through  him  to  pour 
into  the  ears  of  the  Most  High  their  ceaseless  song  of  praise. 
They  spoke  to  him,  and  he  was  to  repeat  their  language  to 
the  Great  Supreme.  He  stood  as  the  head  of  an  immense 
family  of  worshippers.     Creation  was  a  vast  temple.     Every 

248  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

living  and  lifeless  thing  brought  its  offerings  to  the  altar, 
and  man  was  to  present  the  grateful  oblation  to  the  Maker 
and  Preserver  of  them  all.  It  was  a  noble,  a  sublime  posi- 
tion. To  know  was  to  love,  and  to  love  was  to  enjoy. 
The  relation  in  which  he  stood  to  God  may  be  more  ac- 
Man's  relation  to  curately  defined  as  that  of  a  servant,  and 
God  was  that  of  a     the  law  of  liis  life  as  obedieucc.    Obedience, 

servant.  ,  „  ^  n  •  •  i       i 

as  expressive  oi  perfect  coniormity  with  the 
will  of  God,  comprehends  the  whole  scope  of  his  existence. 
This  obedience  involved  the  preservation  of  the  image  of 
God ;  the  culture  of  his  moral  faculties  by  reflection,  con- 
templation and  the  reflective  adoption,  as  principles  of  his 
will,  of  his  natural  holiness ;  and  a  prompt  performance  of 
whatever  duties  pertained  to  his  circumstances  or  were  es- 
pecially enjoined  by  God.  The  will  of  a  servant  must  co- 
incide with  the  will  of  his  master ;  in  this  his  faithfulness 
consists.  Man's  will  was  to  make  the  will  of  God  its  su- 
preme and  only  law.  But  it  pertains  to  the  condition  of  a 
servant  that  his  continuance  in  favour  depends  on  the  con- 
tinuance of  his  obedience,  and  that  his  expectations  from 
his  master  are  measured  by  his  faithfulness.  This,  then, 
was  man's  estate.  He  was  a  creature  ;  a  servant  under  the 
moral  law  as  the  rule  and  guide  of  his  obedience ;  bound  to 
glorify  God  in  perfect  conformity  with  its  requisitions,  and 
authorized  to  expect  the  continuance  of  his  present  happiness 
in  the  sense  of  God's  approbation  as  long  as  he  persevered 
in  the  way  of  faithfulness.  He  had  no  evil  to  apprehend, 
either  to  his  body  or  his  mind,  from  within  or  from  with- 
out. As  long  as  he  was  faithful  to  his  Master,  he  had  a 
right  to  expect  that  his  Master  would  protect  him  and  bless 
him.  There  could  be  no  death  while  there  was  no  sin.  But 
the  servant  must  obey  from  himself.  As  a  servant,  man 
could  never  look  to  any  interposition  of  God  that  should 
destroy  the  contingency  of  his  holiness.  His  probation,  in 
that  aspect,  must  be  commensurate  with  his  immortality. 
There  could  never  come  a  period  in  which  lie  could  have 
any  claim  upon  God  to  render  liis  integrity  indefectible,  or 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  249 

to  draw  him  into  any  closer  relations  with  himself.  What- 
ever arrangements  might  be  made  with  a  reference  to  these 
ends  must  spring  from  the  pure  benevolence  of  the  Creator  ; 
they  must  be  the  offspring  of  grace  and  not  of  debt.  Man 
must  always  stand  or  fall  by  his  own  obedience  in  the  exer- 
cise of  his  own  free-will.  Through  the  law  of  habit  a  con- 
stant course  of  obedience  would  constantly  diminish  the 
dangers  of  transgression,  but  the  possibility  would  always 
remain ;  and  whatever  security  man  might  compass  through 
the  energy  of  will  in  fixing  the  type  of  character,  he  must 
always  stand  in  that  relation  to  God  which  measures  his  ex- 
pectations by  his  service. 

That  the  destiny  of  man,  considered  simply  as  a  creature, 
was  obedience  in  the  relation  of  a  servant  is  evident  from 
the  very  nature  of  moral  government  as  revealed  in  the 
structure  of  our  own  consciences. 


[This  is  one  of  the  most  difficult  questions  in  the  whole  compass  of 
Metai^hysical  Philosophy  or  Christian  Theology.  Its  inherent  difficulties 
have  been  aggravated  by  the  ambiguities  of  language.  All  the  terms 
which  are  introduced  into  the  discussion  have  been  so  abusively  employed 
that  it  is  hard  to  fix  clearly  and  precisely  the  points  at  issue,  or  to  deter- 
mine the  exact  ground  which  we  or  others  actually  maintain.  We  im- 
pose upon  ourselves,  as  well  as  upon  others,  by  the  looseness  of  our  term- 
inology. Liberty,  necessity,  contingency,  possibility,  are  all  used  in  various 
senses,  are  applied  in  different  relations,  and  without  the  utmost  caution 
we  are  likely  to  embarrass  ourselves  by  a  latent  confusion  of  these  differ- 
ent significations. 

Necessity  is  used  metaphysically  to  express  that  the  opposite  of  which 
involves  a  contradiction ;  naturally,  to  express  the  connection  betwixt  an 
effect  and  a  cause,  an  antecedent  and  a  consequent ;  and  morally,  in  the 
twofold  sense  of  obligation  or  duty,  and  the  connection  betwixt  motive 
and  volition.  Liberty  is  used  in  relation  to  the  absence  of  liindrance  and 
restraint  in  the  execution  of  our  plans  and  purposes,  and  refers  exclusively 
to  the  power  of  acting ;  or,  to  denote  mere  spontaneity — the  mere  activities 
and  energies  of  our  inner  being  according  to  their  essential  constitution  ; 
or,  to  the  exclusion  of  a  cause  apart  from  itself  in  determining  the  decisions 
of  the  will.  Contingency  is  used  in  the  sense  of  the  undesigned  or  acci- 
dental ;  and,  in  the  sense  that  another  reality  was  at  the  same  time  produ- 
cible by  the  same  cause.  The  possible,  again,  is  the  metaphysical  non- 
existence of  contradiction,  or  the  contingent  in  the  sense  last  explained. 

250  MAN.  [Lect.  X. 

These  instances  of  ambiguity  of  language  are  sufficient  to  illustrate  the 
nature  of  the  difficulties  upon  this  point. 

The  will  is  indispensable  to  moral  agency.  A  being  without  a  will 
cannot  be  the  subject  of  rewards  and  punishments.  Where  there  is  no 
will  there  is  no  responsibility.  In  investigating,  therefore,  the  freedom 
of  the  will,  the  conditions  which  a  just  exposition  must  fulfil  are  these: 

1.  Freedom  as  a  confirmed  state  of  holiness — an  inward  necessity  of 
holiness,  in  which  the  perfection  of  every  moral  being  consists,  must  be 
grounded  .and  ex^jlained.  Any  account  of  the  will  which  leaves  the  per- 
manent states  of  heart  of  holy  beings  without  moral  significance ;  which 
deprives  character  and  rooted  habits  of  moral  value ;  which  attaches 
importance  only  to  individual  acts,  and  acts  considered  apart  from  their 
expression  of  inward  and  controlling  principles,  is  radically  defective. 

2.  Any  account  of  the  will  which  does  not  ground  our  sense  of  guilt, 
our  convictions  of  ill-desert,  and  which  does  not  show  that  these  convic- 
tions are  no  lie,  but  the  truth,  is  also  defective.  I  must  show  that  my  sin 
is  mine — that  it  finds  its  root  and  principle  in  me. 

3.  Hence,  a  just  account  of  the  will  must  show  that  God  is  not  the 
author  of  sin.  To  say  that  He  is  its  author  is  to  destroy  its  character — 
it  ceases  to  be  sin  altogether. 

4.  A  just  account  of  the  will  must  also  solve  the  problem  of  the  inabil- 
ity, and  yet  of  the  responsibility,  of  the  sinner — that  he  cannot,  and  yet  he 
ought,  and  justly  dies  for  not  doing  what  he  confessedly  cannot  do. 

The  fulfilling  of  these  conditions  is  indispensable  to  a  broad-sided,  ade- 
quate exposition  of  the  will.  To  leave  out  any  of  them  is  to  take  partial 
and  one-sided  views. 

1.  Tried  by  this  standard,  the  theory  of  Arminians  and  Pelagians  is 
seen  to  be  essentially  defective.  Two  forms  of  the  theory — indifierence 
and  equilibrium.     Miiller,  ii.,  17,  21. 

(1.)  These  theories  contradict  an  established  holiness,  and  deny  any 
moral  character  to  the  decisions  of  the  will — they  are  mere  caprice. 

(2.)  They  do  not  account  for  character  at  all — they  put  morality  in 
single  acts. 

(3.)  They  deny  the  sinner's  helplessness  and  even  sinfulness — the  sin- 
ner is  as  free  as  the  saint,  the  devil  as  the  angel. 

2.  The  theory  of  Edwards  breaks  down. 

(1.)  It  does  not  explain  guilt;  it  does  not  rid  God  of  being  the  author 
of  sin. 

(2.)  It  does  not  explain  the  moral  value  attached  to  character. 

(3.)  This  theory  explains  self-expression,  but  not  self-determination. 
Now,  a  just  view  must  show  how  we  first  determine  and  then  habitually 
express  ourselves.  In  these  determinations  is  found  the  moral  significance 
of  these  expressions.  Otherwise  my  nature  would  be  no  more  than  the 
nature  of  a  plant.  Will  supposes  conscience  and  intelligence — these 
minister  to  it ;  the  moral  law — this  is  its  standard. 

3.  There  are  two  states  in  which  man  is  found — a  servant  and  a  son. 

Lect.  X.]  MAN.  251 

The  peculiarity  of  the  servant  is  that  his  holiness  is  not  confirmed.  It 
exists  rather  as  impulse  than  habit,  and  the  law  speaks  rather  with  author- 
ity— sense  of  duty.  Now,  the  province  of  the  will  was  to  determine — 
that  is,  to  root  and  ground  these  principles  as  a  fixed  nature.  There  was 
power  to  do  so.  When  so  determined,  a  holy  necessity  would  have 
risen  as  the  perfection  of  our  being. 

There  was  also  the  possibility  of  determining  otherwise — a  power  of 
pervei'ting  our  nature,  of  determining  it  in  another  direction.  The  power, 
therefore,  of  determining  itself  in  one  or  the  other  direction  is  the  free- 
dom of  a  servant  preparing  to  become  a  son,  and  the  whole  of  moral  cul- 
ture lies  in  the  transition. 

This  theory  explains  all  the  phenomena,  and  has  the  additional  advan- 
tage of  setting  in  a  clear  light  the  grace  of  regeneration. 

In  the  moral  sphere,  and  especially  in  relation  to  single  acts,  this  free- 
dom is  now  seen  in  man.  It  is  neither  necessity  nor  a  contempt  of  the 
principle  of  law.] 



IN  order  to  appreciate  aright  the  dispensation  under  which 
man  was  placed,  soon  after  his  creation,  in  the  garden  of 
Eden,  it  is  necessary  to  have  a  clear  conception — 

I.  Of  the  essential  principles  of  moral  government; 

II.  Of  what  is  implied  in  the  relation  of  a  servant. 

I.  Moral  government  is  a  government  in  which  the  moral   •^ 
law  is  the  rule  of  obedience.    This  is  obvious 

The  first  essential  of        n  .i  ..i      .i  i-i-i*      t^-  '   i      i 

a  moral  government.         ^^^^^  ^hc  Cpithct  by  whlch  it  IS  distinguished. 

But  the  moral  law  is  the  rule  of  obedience 
under  every  dispensation  of  religion.  It  expresses  those 
eternal  distinctions  of  right  and  wrong  upon  which  all 
spiritual  excellence  depends ;  and  which  God  cannot  disre- 
gard without  renouncing  the  perfections  of  His  own  nature. 
Every  believer  under  the  Gospel  aims  at  conformity  Avith 
that  law,  and  feels  that  his  character  is  defective  and  his  sal- 
vation incomplete  until  it  has  pervaded  his  Avhole  soul,  and 
moulded  every  power  and  faculty  in  harmony  witli  its  spirit. 
The  characteristic  principle  of  a  moral  government,  there- 
fore, is  the  principle  upon  which  rewards 

The  second  essential.  ,.        .,  -,         ,^. 

and   punishments    are    distributed.      I  hat 
principle  is  distributive  justice.     When  men  are  rewarded 
and  punished  in  precise  proportion  to  their  merits  and  de-  '' 
merits,  then  the  government  is  strictly  and  properly  moral. 
The  notions  of  justice,  and  of  merit   and   demerit,  are 

]>rimitive  cognitions  of  our  moral  nature, 
tiou  indicated.*'''*  "^      or  of  that  practical  understanding  by  which 

we  discriminate  betwixt  a  duty  and  a  crime. 


Lect.  XL]  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  253 

Conscience,  in  one  single,  indivisible  operation,  gives  us  cog- 
nitions which  can  be  logically  separated  and  distinguished. 
There  is  first  the  perception  of  right,  which 
reo     cognitions  |^    represented  in  terms  of  intellio-ence 

given  by  conscience ;  1  to 

and  defined  as  an  act  of  the  understanding. 
There  is  next  the  sense  of  duty,  the  feeling  of  obligation, 
which  seems  to  partake  of  the  nature  of  the  emotions  and  to 
be  properly  defined  by  tei^ms  of  sensibility.  Then  there  is 
the  conviction  of  merit  or  demerit,  according  as  the  rule  has 
been  observed  or  neglected,  which  seems  to  be  the  practical 
conclusion  of  a  judge  in  applying  the  law  to  a  concrete  in- 
stance. It  is  the  sentence  which  the  mind  passes  upon  itself 
according  to  the  nature  of  its  works ;  and  yet  in  its  simplest 
manifestation  in  consciousness  it  is  a  feeling — a  sense  that 
such  and  such  acts  or  dispositions  deserve  well,  such  other 
acts  and  dispositions  deserve  ill.  It  is  that  phenomenon  of 
conscience  which  connects  happiness  with  right  and  misery 
with  wrong.  It  is  the  root  of  the  whole  conception  of  justice. 
Without  this  primitive  conviction  there  could  be  no  notion 
of  punishment  and  no  notion  of  reward.  Pain  and  pleasure 
receive  their  moral  significance  exclusively  from  that  senti- 
ment of  good  and  ill  desert  which  connects  them  ,with  con- 
duct as  judicial  consequences. 

Though  conscience  is  thus  resolvable  into  three  logical 
logically  distinguish-  coguitioiis  wliich  are  casily  distinguished  in 
able,  yet  fundament-     tcrius,  tlicy  are  all  fundamentally  one  and 

ally  the  same.  -  ^p,,  .  f       •    -i  i 

the  same.  Ihe  perception  oi  right,  the 
sense  of  duty,  and  the  conviction  of  good  and  ill  desert  are 
precisely  the  same  cognition  reflectively  surveyed  from  dif- 
ferent points ;  or,  rather,  they  are  different  forms  of  express- 
ing one  and  the  same  original  deliverance  of  conscience. 
There  is  not  first  an  intellectual  act,  which,  in  the  way  of 
speculation,  pronounces  a  thing  to  be  right ;  then  an  emo- 
tional sanction,  which,  in  the  way  of  feeling,  instigates  to 
obedience;  and  then  a  judicial  sentence  consequent  uj^on  the 
course  actually  pursued.  There  are  not  three  separate  and 
successive  states  of  mind,  which  reciprocally  condition  and 

254  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  [Lect.  XI. 

depend  upon  each  other.  Tliere  is  but  a  single  act  of  con- 
sciousness, and  in  that  single  act  these  logical  discriminations 
are  held  in  perfect  unity.  To  say  that  a  thing  is  right  is  to 
say  that  it  involves  obligation  and  merit ;  to  say  that  it  is  a 
matter  of  obligation  is  to  say  that  it  is  right.  Obligation 
has  no  meaning  apart  from  rectitude,  and  rectitude  has  no 
meaning  apart  from  obligation  and  merit.  The  perception 
of  right  is  not  a  speculative  apprehension ;  it  is  not  the 
affirmation  that  something  is.  It  is  the  apprehension  which, 
in  its  very  nature,  implies  the  peculiar  feeling  which  we  call 
a  sense  of  duty — it  is  the  apprehension  that  something  ought 
to  be.  The  cognition  of  the  right  and  the  feeling  of  duty 
are  the  same ;  the  feeling  of  duty  is  the  very  form,  the  very 
essence  of  the  cognition.  Hence,  rectitude  is  an  intuition  of 
our  moral  understanding,  which  can  be  explained  by  nothing 
simpler  than  itself.  You  might  as  well  undertake  to  define 
red  or  blue  to  a  man  born  blind,  or  loud  or  loiv  to  a  man 
born  deaf,  as  to  represent  right  to  a  man  whose  conscience 
■  ,  PA     had  never  given  him  the  sense  of  duty  or 

The  sense  of   good  &  .' 

and  ill  desert  a  prim-     the  couviction  of  merit.     It  is  a  primitive 

itive  notion.  .  ,  ,  r-  i      •  i         i     •     ■ 

notion,  capable  ot  being  resolved  into  no- 
thing else.  The  events  of  experience  furnish  the  occasions 
upon  which  the  notion  is  developed ;  it  manifests  itself 
through  the  sense  of  duty,  and  through  the  praises  or  censures 
which  we  bestow  upon  our  own  conduct  or  upon  the  actions 
of  others.  When  reflection  analyzes  the  grounds  of  these 
judgments  and  elicits  the  principles  which,  in  every  instance, 
determine  and  regulate  them,  we  then  compass  the  funda- 
mental principles  of  morals  in  the  form  of  abstract  proposi- 
tions. We  then  have  the  rules  which  we  can  subsequently 
apply  reflectively  and  by  design. 

From  this  analysis  it  is  clear  that  merit  and  right  are  in- 
separably united — that  demerit  and  wrong 

Merit    and     right,  •Till  j.     l         rp, 

demerit  and  wrong,     ai'c  as  ludissohibly  connectccl.      liie  man 
bound  indissoiuMy  by     ^^j^^  j^gg    'i^^  ^^  j^^  ^^  j^g  rewarded,  the 

a  moral  tie.  o  o  ' 

man  who  does  wrong  ought  to  be  pun- 
ished; this  is  the  form  in  which  the  radical  notion  of  justice 

LecT.  XI.]  MORAL    GOVERNMENT.  255 

first  expresses  itself  in  the  human  soul.  Its  language  is, 
that  happiness  is  due  to  virtue  as  a  matter  of  right,  and 
misery  is  due  to  sin  as  a  matter  of  right.  This  connection 
by  a  moral  tie  defines  the  notions  of  reward  and  punish- 
_, .        ,    ■    ■  ,      ment.     Now,  a  government  which  distrib- 

TIus  moral  principle  '        o 

constitutes  a  govern-     ^tes  plcasurc  aud  paiii  cxclusivcly  in  the 

nient  moral.  „  i  i  •   i  i     • 

way  ol  rewards  and  punishments,  and  in 
precise  proportion  to  the  good  or  ill  desert  of  the  agents,  is  a 
moral  government.  That  was  the  government  under  which 
man  from  the  moment  of  his  creation  necessarily  came  as  a 
moral  creature.  In  the  image  of  God  he  had  the  law  writ- 
ten uj^on  his  heart  which  constituted  the  rule  and  measure 
of  his  obedience ;  and  in  the  sense  of  duty  he  had  the  supreme 
authority  of  that  law  grounded  as  a  first  principle  in  the 
very  structure  of  his  conscience ;  and  in  the  conviction  of 
good  and  ill  desert  he  had  engraved  upon  his  soul  that  im- 
perishable notion  of  justice  which,  if  not  sufficient  to  pro- 
tect from  the  foul  wrong  of  apostasy,  would  for  ever  justify 
God  to  his  own  conscience  for  the  penal  retributions  which 
doomed  him  to  misery  and  death.  God  interwove  into  the 
very  elements  of  his  being  the  essential  articles  of  the  dis- 
pensation under  Avhich  he  was  placed  as  a  creature.  He 
found  himself,  as  soon  as  he  began  to  be  a  subject  to  law, 
a  servant  to  his  master.  This  relation  was  stamped  upon 
his  conscience. 

When  we  proceed  more  narrowly  to  examine  the  import 
of  the  conviction  of  good  and  ill  desert, 
hopeTSlV  """'     ^ve  find  that  it  resolves  itself  into  the  expec- 
tation  of  favour  from  the  Supreme  Ruler, 
or  the  apprehension  of  His  displeasure.     It  expresses  itself 
in  the  language  of  hope  or  fear.     There  is  a  still  more  re- 
markable phenomenon ;  the  sense  of  guilt  or  the  sense  of 
demerit  is  found  to  obliterate  all  the  claims  of  past  right- 
eousness.    One   sin    brings   the  soul   into 
bnt    condemns    the     ^^^^^.j-ncss  and  tciTor.     If  mau  had  obeyed 

righteous  for  one  sin.  J 

for  years  and  then  in  an  evil  hour  had  been 
tempted  into  an  act  of  disloyalty,  that  one  act  would  have 

256  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  [Lect.  XI. 

changed  his  whole  relations  to  the  lawgiver  and  have  effaced 

the  entire  merits  of  his  past  life.     There  is  no  compromise 

in  merit.     Obedience  must  be  complete  or 

Imperfect  obedience       >,     ^  n'j_  i  j^i  j_-j. 

pyjj  it  loses  all  its  value;  the  very  moment  it 

fails  all  is  over.  There  is  no  such  thing  in 
a  strictly  moral  government  as  a  balancing  of  the  good  and 
bad,  as  weighing  them  in  scales  together,  and  dealing  with 
the  agent  according  to  the  preponderance.  Obedience  is 
merit,  disobedience  is  demerit,  and  obedience  ceases  Avhen- 
ever  disobedience  begins.  Perfect  moral  government  keeps 
a  creature  under  probation  until  it  has  sinned.  Then  its 
relations  are  changed.  It  becomes  bound  to  misery  by 
the  eternal  law  of  justice,  and  can  never  be  received  into 
favour  until  the  claims  of  that  law  are  cancelled.  The  rea- 
son is  very  obvious  why  a  single  transgression  cancels  a 
whole  career  of  virtue.     The  law  can  ex- 

The  creature's  whole  ,  ,■••  i,  f     i       t      t  i 

immortality,  one  life.        ^^t    llOtlling    DUt    pcrtcct    ObCcllCnCe,    aucl    aS 

the  creature  is  one,  its  whole  life  is  one,  and 
a  departure  in  any  period  of  its  life  mars  the  perfection  of 
its  obedience,  and  makes  it  morally  null.  A  line  may  be 
straight  for  a  great  distance,  and  yet  if  it  has  a  single  crook 
in  it  at  any  part  of  its  course,  it  ceases  to  be  a  straight  line. 
Perfect  obedience  is  that  alone  which  is  obedience  at  all,  and 
the  very  moment  the  perfection  is  lost  everything  entitled 
to  reward  is  lost.  All  merit  vanishes  for  ever.  The  reward 
which  moral  government  postulates  is  the  continuance  of 
the  Divine  favour  through  the  period  of  obedience — noth- 
ing more,  nothing  less.  There  must  be  no  unhappiness, 
there  must  be  no  want,  no  pain  while  there  is  no  transgres- 
sion. The  very  language  of  the  law  as  written  upon  the 
heart  is,  Do  and  live,  for  while  you  do  you  shall  live.  The 
infliction  of  pain  upon  a  perfectly  holy  being  seems  to  con- 
tradict the  deepest  instincts  of  our  moral  nature,  for  such  a 
being  is  necessarily  contemplated  as  the  fit  subject  of  re- 
wards, and  as  having  a  claim  for  exemption  from  all  that  is 
evil.  I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  that  it  would  be  unjust 
that  the  righteous  should  die,  and  equally  unjust  that  the 

Lect.  XI.]  MOEAL   GOVEENMENT.  257 

wicked  should  live.  It  is  no  more  consistent  with  God's 
character  to  exclude  the  upright  from  His  favour  than  to 
receive  the  wicked  into  favour.  He  might  just  as  easily 
bless  the  sinner  as  curse  the  saint.  The  law  of  distributive 
justice  equally  forbids  both. 

There  is  another  feature  of  pure  moral  government  that 

deserves  to  be  particularly  noticed,  and  that  is,  that  it  may 

deal  with  men  exclusively  as  individuals, 

Kepresentation   not  ,  ii         •        i  •  -r-<      i 

a  uecessary  principle  aucl  not  collectively  as  a  spccics.  Jiiach 
of  pure  moral  govern.     ^-^^^^^  may  bc  rcquircd  to  stand  or  fall  for 

ment.  _  •'  '■ 

himself  alone.  There  is  no  principle  of 
justice  which  necessitates  the  complication  of  others  in  our 
guilt  or  obedience.  On  the  other  hand,  there  is  no  princi- 
ple of  justice  which  precludes  it.  In  our  social  constitution, 
and  the  unity  of  race  which  includes  in  one  blood  all  the 
descendants  of  Adam,  a  foundation  is  laid  for  these  arrange- 
ments of  goodness  which  shall  modify  our  individual  inde- 
pendence and  render  possible  the  participation  of  others  in 
our  own  personal  merit  or  demerit.  But  this  is  not  abso- 
lutely necessary.  The  principle  of  representation  might 
have  been  ignored,  and  no  one  could  comjjlain  that  any  in-  / 
justice  had  been  done  him.  This  principle,  therefore,  can- 
not be  regarded  as  an  essential  element  of  moral  government 
in  itself  considered.  If  Adam,  in  the  light  merely  of  a 
moral  subject,  had  retained  his  integrity  and  had  begotten 
children,  their  perpetuity  in  holiness  might  have  been  wholly 
independent  of  his.  They  would  have  run  their  own  moral 
career ;  their  relations  to  their  father  and  the  rest  of  the 
species  would  only  have  been  the  occasions  of  complicated 
and  interesting  duties,  in  the  discharge  of  which  each  was  to 
give  account  solely  for  himself.  Under  these  circumstances, 
none  would  have  been  benefited  but  by  their  own  obedience, 
none  injured  except  by  their  own  transgression ;  that  is,  none 
would  have  been  directly  rewarded  or  directly  punished. 
Indirect  aids  in  maintaining  their  uprightness  all  would 
have  received  from  the  good,  and  injury  in  the  way  of  temp- 
tations to  disobedience  all  would  have  received  from  the  bad. 

Vol.  I.— 17 

258  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  [Lect.  XI. 

We  have  now  briefly  enumerated  the  essential  elements 
of  a  proper  moral  governmeut.     It  is  one 

Recapitulation.  .  i   •    i        i 

in  which  the  moral  law  is  the  rule  of  obe- 
dience, in  which  distributive  justice  is  the  principle  of  the 
disj)ensations  of  rewards  and  punishments.  We  have  traced 
this  principle  to  its  root  in  human  nature,  have  found  it  in 
the  primitive  sense  of  good  and  ill  desert,  have  seen  that  it 
secures  favour  to  the  righteous  only  during  the  terra  of  his 
obedience,  and  that  the  very  moment  he  transgresses  it  binds 
him  over  to  the  penal  visitations  of  guilt;  that  it  pronounces 
nothing  to  be  obedience  which  is  not  perfect,  and  that  as  the 
life  of  the  man  is  one,  it  must  cover  the  whole  of  his  im- 
mortality  or   fail    entirely'  and    for   ever. 

Under     a     purely       -^-i-  ,  ,  , 

moral  government  the     -tieuce    hc    caii    iicvcr   Under    mcrc  moral 
creature   never   safe     p;overninent   bc    excmpt    from   the    possi- 

from  falling.  '^^   _  '^  ^ 

bility  of  falling.  He  can  never  be  ren- 
dered absolutely  and  immutably  safe. 

II.  Having  thus  defined  the  nature  of  a  pure  moral  gov- 
ernment, let  us  next  consider  a  little  more  distinctly  what 
is  involved  in  the  relation  of  a  servant. 

It  is  contrasted  in  the  Scriptures  with  the  relation  of  a  son, 
and  when  we  have  obtained  a  clear  conception  of  the  dis- 
tinguishing peculiarities  of  adoption  into  the  fomily  of  God, 
we  shall  perceive  in  what  respects  the  condition  of  a  ser- 
„.  ,  ,.„         ,        vant  is  huinl)ler  and  less  glorious.     Xow, 

First  difference  be-  o  J 

twixt  a  servant  and  a       [n    the    CaSC    of  tllC    SOU,   the    grOUud    of   llis 

expectation  from  God  is  not  his  own  merit, 
but  tlie  measureless  fullness  of  the  Divine  benevolence.  God 
deals  Avith  him  not  upon  the  principle  of  simple  justice,  but 
according  to  the  riches  of  the  glory  of  His  grace.  The  ques- 
tion is,  not  what  he  deserves,  but  what  God's  goodness  shall 
prompt  Him  to  communicate. 

From  this  peculiarity  arises  another :  tlie  access  to  God 

is  less  full  and  free  in  the  case  of  a  serv- 

Socond  difference.  i  .         i  «  mi  •  i 

ant  than  m  that  of  a  son.  I  here  is  not  the 
same  richness  of  communion.  There  is  not  the  same  near- 
ness, the  same  unreserved  confidence.     How  this  distance 

Lect.  XI.]  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  259 

realized  itself  in  the  instance  of  an  obedient  subject,  how 
God  manifested  His  favour,  and  what  was  the  real  extent 
of  man's  privilege  in  his  primitive  condition  in  relation  to 
his  appearance  before  God — the  precise  peculiarities  of  his 
subjective  state — we  are  unable  to  represent.  But  we  know 
that  there  is  this  marked  difference  betwixt  a  servant  and  a 
son.  The  condition  of  the  saints  nnder  the  Law  is  com- 
pared to  that  of  servants,  and  the  reason  assigned  is  that  the 
way  of  access  to  God  was  not  so  fully  and  distinctly  revealed 
as  under  the  Gospel. 

There  is  a  further  difference  between  the  two  states  in  re- 
lation to  the  Law.    To  a  servant  it  addresses 

A  further  tlifference.         .        ,  r,  -,..■,.-,  r, 

itself  more  distnictly  m  the  way  of  com- 
mand. Its  requisitions  are  recognized  as  duties  ;  to  the  son 
it  is  rather  a  life  than  a  law,  and  its  injunctions  are  privileges 
rather  than  obligations.  AVhatever  may  have  been  the  spon- 
taneous pleasure  of  the  first  man  in  obedience  to  the  Law,  his 
exercises  were  acts  of  conscious  obedience  and  performed  in 
the  spirit  of  duty.  Love  gave  him  alacrity  in  all  his  acts  ; 
but  it  was  a  love  Avhich  consecrated  duty,  and  which  only 
sweetened,  without  absorbing,  the  authority  of  law.  The 
same  difference,  as  exhibited  between  the  saints  of  the  old 
and  new  dispensations,  is  characterized  respectively  as  the 
spirit  of  bondage  and  the  spirit  of  adoption.  There  was,  of 
course,  nothing  like  slavish  fear  in  the  bosom  of  unfallen 
Adam,  and  there  was  no  irksome  attention  to  his  duties  as  a 
grievous  and  revolting  burden,  but  there  was  the  operation 
of  conscience  which  adapted  him  to  moral  government,  and 
which  kept  constantly  before  his  mind  the  ideas  of  merit  and 
demerit,  the  eternal  rule  of  justice  as  the  measure  of  his 
hopes,  and  the  hypothetical  uncertainty  which  hung  upon 
his  destiny.  He  could  not  have  had  that  rich  and  glorious 
freedom  which  belongs  to  the  sons  of  God. 

That  the  account  which  has  been  given  of  the  essential 

These  views  of  moral     priuciplos  of  moral  government  and  of  the 

government  and  the       g^cral  rclatiou  of  a  scrvaut  is  not  a  flmciful 

relation    ol     servant,        ~ 

scriptural.  representation,  but  a  just  statement  of  the 

260  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  [Lect.  XI. 

attitude  in  which  God  and  Adam  stood  to  each  other  at 
the  commencement  of  man's  existence,  is  easily  collected 
from  the  whole  tenor  and  from  many  explicit  passages 
of  Scripture.  In  the  teachings  of  the  Old  and  New  Tes- 
taments in  relation  to  the  economy  of  grace  in  the  different 
stages  of  its  development,  there  is  a  constant  allusion  to  those 
great  facts  of  moral  government  which  underlie  the  whole 
scheme.  Whatever  is  presupposed  as  essential  to  Chris- 
tianity in  the  relations  of  man  to  God  under  the  Law,  be- 
longs to  this  subject ;  and  these  presuppositions  determine 
the  Scripture  doctrine  of  what  moral  government  actually  is 
and  must  be.  Founded  in  immutable  justice,  its  laws  and 
sanctions  can  never  be  set  aside.  Now,  in  explaining  man's 
condition  as  a  sinner,  and  the  truths  which  must  be  pre- 
supposed in  any  scheme  of  justification,  the  essential  relations 
of  man  as  a  subject  of  law  are  clearly  brought  out.  In  the 
Epistle  to  the  Romans,  Paul  begins  by  a  distinct  enunciation 
of  the  rule  of  distributive  justice  which  we  have  seen  is  its 
regulative  principle  :  "  Who  will  render  to  every  man  ac- 
cording to  his  deeds ;  to  them  who  by  jjatient  continuance  in 
well-doing  seek  for  glory  and  honour  and  immortality, 
eternal  life ;  but  unto  them  that  are  contentious  and  do  not 
obey  the  truth,  but  obey  unrighteousness,  indignation  and 
wrath,  tribulation  and  anguish  upon  every  soul  of  man  that 
doeth  evil,  of  the  Jew  first,  and  also  of  the  Gentile ;  for 
there  is  no  respect  of  persons  with  God."  ^  This  passage  is 
very  conclusive — it  endorses  almost  everything  that  we  have 
endeavoured  to  set  forth.  First,  the  judgment  of  God  is  de- 
termined by  the  actual  merit  or  demerit  of  men.  They  will 
be  tried  by  their  works.  Those  who  have  obeyed  the  law 
shall  be  entitled  to  the  rewards  of  their  virtue,  and  those 
who  have  transgressed  must  expect  to  receive  the  conse- 
quences of  their  guilt.  In  the  next  place,  the  judgment  is 
personal  and  individual — it  is  to  every  man.  There  is  a 
distinction  made  by  grace  betwixt  the  Jew  and  the  Gentile 
— no  such  distinction  is  known  to  the  law.     Moral  govern- 

1  Eom.  ii.  6-11. 

Lect.  XL]  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  261 

ment  knows  only  the  obedient  and  the  disobedient.  It  is  a 
grave  error  to  imagine  that  in  this  passage  Paul's  design  was 
to  set  forth  the  possibility  to  man,  in  his  present  circum- 
stances, of  justification  by  the  Law.  He  means  to  imply  no 
such  thing.  On  the  contrary,  his  purpose  was  to  evince, 
from  the  principle  here  laid  down,  the  futility  of  all  such 
hopes.  To  do  this  he  signalizes  the  conditions  of  a  legal 
justification — perfect  obedience,  the  ground  on  which  the 
reward  is  dispensed,  and  distributive  justice;  and  from  these 
conditions  proves  the  utter  hopelessness  of  standing  before 
God  in  our  own  righteousness.  It  is  by  means  of  this  prin- 
ciple that  he  shuts  up  all  under  sin,  and  leaves  no  way  of 
escape  but  in  the  free  mercy  of  God  through  Jesus  Christ. 
He  points  out  to  them  what  they  must  do  if  they  would  se- 
cure favour  by  their  works,  and  as  the  requirements  are  be- 
yond their  strength,  it  is  evidently  vain  to  place  any  reliance 
upon  the  Law. 

In  EzekieP  we  have  certain  abstract  propositions  laid 
down,  which,  whatever  may  have  been  their  immediate  scope 
and  significancy,  as  abstract  propositions  sustain  all  that  we 
have  said :  "  Therefore,  thou  son  of  man,  say  unto  the 
children  of  thy  people.  The  righteousness  of  the  righteous 
shall  not  deliver  him  in  the  day  of  his  transgression.  As 
for  the  wickedness  of  the  wicked,  he  shall  not  fall  thereby 
in  the  day  that  he  turneth  from  his  wickedness ;  neither 
shall  the  righteous  be  able  to  live  for  his  righteousness  in 
the  day  that  he  sinneth."  Here  the  intrinsic  merit  of  obe- 
dience and  the  intrinsic  demerit  of  disobedience  are  broadly 
asserted.  It  is  affirmed  that  the  value  of  righteousness  ceases 
with  the  first  act  of  sin.  In  the  day  that  the  righteous  man 
sins  he  forfeits  the  right  to  life.  But  there  seems  also  to  be 
maintained  that  the  demerit  of  sin  can  be  cancelled  by  sub- 
sequent obedience,  and  that  the  sinner  by  penitence  may  put 
himself  again  in  the  position  of  a  righteous  man.  If  this 
were  the  meaning,  the  second  proposition  would  be  contra- 
dictory to  the  first.  The  abstract  proposition  is,  that  a  man 
^  Cli.  xxxiii.  12,  seq. 

262  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  [Lect.  XL 

cau  never  perish  considered  as  righteous,  and  that  upon  the 
supposition  of  a  sinner  becoming  really  and  truly  righteous, 
he  would  not  be  a  fit  subject  for  punishment.  Such  a  change, 
however,  is  impossible  except  under  a  system  of  grace,  which 
expiates  guilt  and  renews  and  sanctifies  the  heart,  and  im- 
putes to  our  obedience  the  merit  which  purchased  the  grace 
wherein  we  stand.  The  general  notion  of  the  whole  passage 
is,  that  righteousness — true  and  real  righteousness — is,  in 
itself,  acceptable  to  God ;  but  that  true  righteousness  is  in- 
consistent with  the  least  sin.  The  soul  that  sinneth  must 
surely  die.  Hence,  the  prophet  is  far. from  saying  that  a 
sinner  can  repent  by  virtue  of  any  provisions  of  the  Law. 
He  only  says  what  would  be  his  condition  and  his  j)rospects, 
provided  he  could  be  found  again  in  a  state  of  righteousness ; 
and  the  very  necessity  of  repentance  is  a  testimony  that  God 
cannot  communicate  the  sense  of  His  love  while  the  love  of 
evil  continues  to  reign  in  the  heart. 

Moral  government  must  be  carefully  distinguished  from 

Moral  government,     moral  discipline.    Thc  ouly  discipline  which 

how      distinguished     ^lic  Law  rccognizcs  is  the  discij)line  of  growth. 

from  moral  discipline.  ,  .      .  -     .  -, 

ihe  servant  may  increase  in  knowledge  and 
ability,  and  with  every  step  of  his  progress  the  circle  of  his 
duties  increases.  But  a  process  of  education,  by  which  habits 
of  holiness  are  formed  and  propensities  to  evil  eradicated, 
belongs  to  an  economy  under  which  sin  can  be  pardoned, 
and  imperfect  and  sincere  eiforts  to  obey  accepted  as  perfect 
obedience  to  the  Law.  Without  provisions  for  expiation  of 
guilt  and  the  communication  of  God's  grace,  a  state  of  moral 
discipline  to  a  sinner  is  a  palpable  absurdity.  The  Law  pun- 
„,  . ,,   T     ,  ishes,  but  never  seeks  to  reform  the  criminal. 

v\  hat  the  Law  knows,  ' 

and  what  it  does  not     Jt  puts  him  to  dcath,  but  nevcr  seeks  to 

know.  17  •    1 

restore  him  to  life.  And  punishment,  apart 
from  grace,  has  no  natural  tendency  to  ameliorate — it  only 
hardens  the  heart.  Conscience  makes  us  desperate,  but 
never  penitent.  The  Law  knows  nothing,  therefore,  of  re- 
pentance. Once  a  sinner,  according  to  it,  always  and  hope- 
lessly a  sinner.     The  line  that  has  one  crook  can  never  be 

Lect.  XI.]  MORAL   GOVERNMENT.  263 

made  straight.  The  obedience  that  fails  once  fails  in  all. 
The  relation,  too,  of  holiness  to  the  favour  of  God  shows 
that  no  provision  can  be  implied  in  the  nature  of  the  Law 
for  restoration  to  good. 

Moral  Discipline  and  Moral  Government  are  distinguished : 
1.  As  to  their  principle;  the  principle  of  discipline  is  love — 
that  of  moral  government  is  justice.  2.  As  to  their  end ; 
the  end  of  moral  discipline  is  the  improvement  of  the  sub- 
ject— the  end  of  moral  government  is  to  maintain  the 
authority  of  law.  3.  In  their  penalties ;  sins  in  moral  dis- 
cipline are  faults  to  be  corrected — in  moral  government  they 
are  crimes  to  be  punished.  One  is  the  administration  of  a 
father  over  his  children — the  other  a  dispensation  of  the 
magistrate  to  subjects.  4.  Righteousness  in  the  one  is  a 
qualification — in  the  other  a  right.  The  distinctions  are  so 
broad  and  j^alpable  that  nothing  but  confusion  can  result 
from  treating  them  as  essentially  the  same.  Indeed,  many 
of  the  most  ingenious  hypotheses  .invented  to  explain  the 
evil  of  the  universe  have  plunged  their  authors  into  irre- 
Discipiine    is    of     tricvablc  perplexities  by  the  capital  mistake 

grace  ;  government  is  Qf  confouudiug  what  SO  obvioUsly  bclouo;  tO 
of  nature.  °  ,,..,. 

ditierent  spheres.  Moral  discipline  per- 
tains to  the  kingdom  of  grace — moral  government  is  the 
essence  of  the  kingdom  of  nature. 

[In  recasting  this  lecture,  attend  to  the  following  suggestions : 

I.  Moral  government  distinguished — 1.  By  its  rule.  2.  By  its  principle, 
distributive  justice.  3.  Perpetual  innocence,  its  requirement.  4.  Repent- 
ance impossible.     5.  Individual  in  its  claims. 

II.  The  relation  of  a  servant.  Bring  out  the  idea  that  the  law  is 
looked  on  more  as  an  expression  of  will — its  authority  prominent.  In  the 
case  of  a  son,  the  prominent  notion  is  that  of  imitation — imitators  of  God 
as  dear  children.] 



HAVING  considered  the  essential  principles  of  moral 
government,  and  what  is  involved  in  the  relation  of  a 
servant,  we  are  prepared  to  understand  and  appreciate  the 
peculiar  features  of  the  dispensation  under  which  man  was 
placed  immediately  after  his  creation.  Though  God  in  jus- 
tice might  have  left  man  to  the  operation  of  a  pure  moral 
government,  conducted  by  the  rule  of  distributive  justice, 
and  might  have  for  ever  retained  him  in  the  attitude  of  a  ser- 
vant, yet  the  Divine  goodness  seems  to  have  contemplated 
from  the  very  beginning  a  nearer  and  tenderer  relationship, 
and  a  destiny  of  inconceivably  greater  dignity  and  glory 
than  mere  justice  would  or  could  have  awarded.  It  was 
always  God's  purpose  to  turn  the  servant 
into  a  son.  What  sonship  implies  it  is 
impossible  for  us  adequately  to  conceive. 
The  Apostle  John  declares  in  reference  to  the  sonship  of  the 
saints,  "  It  doth  not  yet  appear  what  we  shall  be,  but  when 
He  shall  appear  we  shall  be  like  Him,  for  we  shall  see  Him 
as  He  is."  The  ground  of  a  son's  right  to  the  blessings  he 
enjoys  is  the  love  of  the  father,  and  the  principle  on  which 
he  possesses  it  is  that  of  inheritance  and  not  of  debt.  To 
be  a  subject  in  whom  God  may  express  the  infinite  goodness 
of  His  own  nature,  to  be  an  heir  of  Him  who  is  fullness 
of  joy  and  at  whose  right  hand  there  are  pleasures  for  ever- 
more, is  certainly  to  be  exalted  to  the  highest  excellence  of 
which  a  creature  can  be  possessed.  Then,  a  son  has  un- 
limited  access   to   his  father's  presence.      His  communion 


The  servant  to  be- 
come a  son. 

Lect.  xil]  the  covenant  of  works.  265 

with  him  is  full  and  rich  and  free.  The  conception  of 
such  a  purpose,  so  far  transcending  all  the  demands  of  jus- 
tice, is  a  conspicuous  display  of  the  grace  and  goodness  which 
have  characterized  all  the  dispensations  of  God  in  relation 
to  our  race.  It  was  a  great  thing  to  be  a  man,  endowed 
with  capacities  of  truth  and  knowledge  and  duty ;  a  great 
thing  to  have  been  made  susceptible  of  all  the  refined  and 
tender  sensibilities  which  belong  to  our  race — sensibilities 
which  convert  the  contemplation  of  the  scenes  of  nature  into 
a  feast,  which  drink  beauty  and  joy  and  rapture  from  the 
grand  and  sublime  spectacles  which  greet  us  in  the  starry 
canopy  above  us,  the  swelling  mountains  around  us  or  the 
majestic  sea  before  us — sensibilities  which  convert  the  ties 
of  domestic  life  into  charms,  and  make  society  in  all  its  com- 
plicated relations  the  minister  of  good ;  it  was  a  great  thing 
to  have  been  created  in  the  image  of  God,  with  a  heart  to 
love  and  adore  His  great  name  and  exemplify  the  holiness 
of  His  character,  to  have  been  made  immortal  and  capable 
of  an  everlasting  sense  of  the  Divine  favour — to  have  been 
thus  made  a  man,  a  holy  man,  an  immortal  man,  with  the 
prospect  of  endless  good,  surely  this  w^as  grace ;  it  was  grace 
upon  grace !  Plato  said  that  there  were  three  things  for 
which  he  blessed  God:  1.  That  he  had  been  made  a  man, 
and  not  a  beast ;  2,  that  he  had  been  born  a  Greek,  and  not 
a  barbarian ;  and  3,  that  he  had  been  permitted  to  live  in 
the  age  of  Socrates.  With  how  much  more  fervour  should 
the  first  man  have  celebrated  the  Divine  goodness  as  he 
walked  forth  upon  the  new  creation  in  all  its  loveliness  and 
beauty,  and  was  regaled  on  every  hand  with  the  tokens  of 
the  Divine  regard !  How  must  his  heart  have  overflowed 
as  he  sounded  the  mysterious  depths  of  his  own  being,  and 
felt  the  grand  and  glorious  capacities  with  which  he  was  en- 
dowed !  His  first  utterance  must  have  been  praise,  his  first 
impulse  to  throw  himself  upon  the  ground  and  bless  that 
God  who  made  him  what  he  was.  It  was  amazing  good- 
ness to  have  furnished  him  with  all  the  blessings  that 
crowned  his  lot,  considered  merely  as  a  servant.     But  what 

266  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS,  [Lect.  XII. 

shall  we  say  of  the  goodness  that  could  not  stop  here — that 
as  it  recognized  in  man  the  capacity  of  closer  ties  Avith  itself, 
yearned  to  take  him  to  its  bosom  and  pour  upon  him  a 
richer  tide  of  glory  and  of  joy  than  the  cold  relations  of 
law  and  justice  could  demand?  Surely,  our  God  is  love; 
creation    shows    it   as  well    as   the   cross ! 

Grace  in    tUo    first       c<         i  /^     i     •  xi         £      j_ 

covenant.  ourcly,  our  (jrod  IS  gracc ;  the  nrst  cove- 

nant proves  it  as  truly  as  the  second ! 
In  order  that  the  change  from  the  condition  of  a  servant 
to  that  of  a  son  might  take  place,  it  was  necessary  that  the 
man   should    prove   himself  faithful   in  the  first  relation. 
Adoption  was  to  be  a  rcAvard  of  grace,  but 

Adoption   of   grace,  .-n-i  ,i  tTj^  x 

and  yet  a  reward.  s^ill  it  was  to  bc  a  rcward.     It  was  not  a 

favour  to  be  conferred  in  defiance  of  the 
relations  that  naturally  subsisted  betwixt  God  and  His 
creature.  Man  was  not  to  be  arbitrarily  promoted.  His 
dignity  was  to  come  as  the  fruit  of  his  obedience.  It  was 
much  more  than  he  deserved,  much  more  than  he  could  de- 
serve. But  in  the  plenitude  of  His  own  bounty,  God  pro- 
posed to  add  this  boon  of  adoption  over  and  above  all  that 
man  was  entitled  to  receive  for  his  service  if  he  should  prove 
faithful  to  his  trust.  The  purpose,  therefore,  to  adopt  the 
servant  into  the  family  and  make  him  an  heir,  introduces  an 
imiiortant  modification  of  tlie  oeneral  prin- 

Probation  limited  as  ■'^  ox 

to  time,  and  thus  jus-     ciplcs  of  uioral  government  in  the  limita- 

tification  introduced.  .  />,i  -ip  ^      j  •  1j1' 

tion  01  the  period  ot  probation,  and  tins 
limitation  introduces  a  new  feature  in  the  Divine  economy, 
even  that  of  justification.  Under  the  original  relations  of 
man  to  God,  his  probation  was  coextensive  with  his  immor- 
tality, and  perpetual  innocence  was  his  only  righteousness, 
and  was  only  a  security  of  perpetual  favour.  No  jxist  obe- 
dience could  exempt  from  the  jiossibility  of  a  future  fall. 
Man's  condition  was  necessarily  precarious.  To  limit  pro- 
bation is  to  make  a  temporary  obedience  cover  the  whole 
compass  of  immortality,  to  make  it  equivalent  to  what  per- 
petual innocence  would  have  been,  and  thus,  from  the  nature 
of  the  case,  render  apostasy  after  the  limitation  had  ex^^ired 

Lect.  XII.]  THE    COVENANT    OF    WORKS.  267 

impossible.  The  veiy  essence  of  justification  is  to  produce 
as  its  eifect  indefectibility  of  holiness.  If  God  chooses  to 
gather  our  whole  being  into  a  short  probation,  and  to  make 
the  obedience  of  that  period  equivalent  to  an  immortality 
spent  as  faithful  servants,  the  supposition  that  after  the 
period  was  passed  we  could  sin  involves  the  monstrous  idea 
that  there  can  be  a  perpetual  right  to  God's  favour  on  the 
part  of  those  who  are  destitute  of  His  love — that  men  can 
be  at  one  and  the  same  time  the  objects  of  the  Divine  com- 
placency and  disgust.  The  essential  notion  of  justification 
is,  that  obedience  for  a  limited  time  shall  place  the  subject 
beyond  the  possibility  of  guilt.  If  he  is  faithful  during  the 
stipulated  period,  he  is  safe  for  ever,  he  is  confirmed  immu- 
tably in  life.  That  this  must  be  the  case  results  from  another 
consideration.  If  God  treats  limited  as  perpetual  obedience, 
he  must  make  limited  secure  perpetual  obedience.  Other- 
wise His  judgment  will  not  be  according  to  truth.  Adop- 
tion is  grounded  in  justification.  The  state  of  a  son  in 
which  man  is  placed  in  such  relations  to  God  as  to  secure 
him  from  the  possibility  of  defection  is  founded  upon  that 
limitation  of  obedience  which  gathers  up  the  whole  immor- 
tality in  its  probationary  character  into  a  brief  compass,  and 
then  makes  its  real  complexion  depend  upon  the  fidelity  or 
infidelity  displayed  in  the  trial.  Adoption,  in  other  words, 
depends  upon  justification,  and  justification  is  unintelligible 
without  the  contraction  of  the  period  of  trial.  The  very 
moment  trial  ceases  the  attitude  of  a  servant  ceases,  a  new 
relation  must  necessarily  supervene ;  and  God  has  consti- 
tuted that  new  relation  according  to  the  riches  of  His  grace. 
These  modifications  of  moral  government  are  the  offspring 
of  the  Divine  will.  They  do  not  flow  from  any  necessary 
principles  of  His  nature  or  His  government.  They  are  the 
Free  acts  of  Gods  ^cc  acts  of  His  bouuty.  Heucc,  the  dis- 
bounty,  and  matters     pcnsatiou  of  rcligiou  wliich  thcy  superin- 

of  pui-e  revelation.  .  -  „  . 

duce  must  be  a  matter  of  pure  revelation. 
Adam  could  not  have  dreamed  of  it  without  special  com- 
munication with  God.     He   never  was,  unless  for  a  very 

268  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

short  time,  under  a  mere  system  of  natural  religion.  He 
M'as  placed  at  the  beginning  of  his  career  under  an  economy 
whicli  looked  far  beyond  the  provisions  of  mere  nature,  and 
at  the  very  outset  of  his  career  was  made  the  subject  of 
special  Divine  revelations. 

This  is  a  very  important  and  a  very  striking  thought. 

Man's  religion  must     ^au's  rcligiou  has  always  been  conditioned 

always  be  a  revealed     \,y  revclatiou.     That  is  uot  a  peculiarity 

of  the  Christian  system.  It  marks  all 
God's  dealings  with  the  race.  The  reason  is  obvious  :  His 
goodness  has  always  been  greater  than  our  deserts.  Our 
moral  nature  is  adjusted  to  a  scheme  of  pure  justice,  and 
wdienever  God's  love  prompts  Him  to  outrun  its  demands, 
our  expectations  must  be  determined  by  special  revelation 
of  His  purposes  and  plans.  His  free  acts  cannot  be  antici- 
pated by  any  measure  of  reason  or  conscience.  If  known 
at  all,  they  have  to  be  made  known  by  Himself.  To  deny, 
therefore,  that  our  religion  must  be  revealed,  is  to  say  that 
God  can  never  do  more  than  our  merits  can  exact ;  it  is  to 
limit  and  contract  His  goodness.  Let  His  love  be  infinite, 
and  it  is  morally  certain  that  He  will  entertain  purposes 
which  we  could  not  conjecture,  and  which  He  must  impart 
to  us.  The  same  love  that  transcends  justice  in  the  purj^ose 
will  transcend  nature  in  the  knowledge.  What  prompts 
Him  to  do  more  than  nature  calls  for,  will  prompt  Him  to 
teach  more  than  nature  can  discover.  Hence,  the  religion 
of  Adam  was  really  a  revealed  religion ;  it  was  conditioned 
by  a  dispensation  introducing  important  modifications  into 
the  general  principles  of  moral  government,  the  nature  of 
which,  as  purposes  of  the  Divine  mind,  could  not  be  ascer- 
tained apart  from  His  making  of  them  known. 

This  dispensation  is  known  as  the  Covenant  of  Works. 

This  covenant  is  a  scheme  for  the  justifica- 

The     Covenant     of,.  llj.'  r  l     •  ill 

Works definid.  ^^^^^  ^^^^'^  acloptiou  ot  uiau,  aucl  IS  callccl  a 

coi'cnuni  because  tlie  promise  was  suspended 

upon  a  condition  with  which  man  was  freely  to  comply.     It 

was  not  a  covenant  in  the  sense  that  man  was  at  liberty  to 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF  WORKS.  ^  2G9 

decline  its  terms.  He  was  under  obligation  to  accept  as  a 
servant  whatever  God  might  choose  to  propose.  He  had  no 
stipulations  to  make ;  he  was  simply  to  receive  what  God 
enjoined.  It  is  also  implied  in  the  use  of  the  word  covenant 
that  the  faith  of  God  was  pledged  in  case  the  condition  were 
fulfilled.  Nothing  sets  in  a  stronger  light  the  kindness  and 
condescension  which  have  signalized  all  the  dealings  of  the 
Most  High  with  our  race  than  that  the  very  first  dispensa- 
tion of  religion  under  which  man,  still  a  servant,  was  placed 
— than  that  the  very  words  by  which  it  is  described  should 
seem  to  savour  of  a  treaty  u\  which  parties  met  and  stipulated. 
And  some  have  pushed  the  words  so  far  as  really  to  repre- 
sent man  as  treating  upon  something  of  a  footing  of  equality 
with  God.  All  such  inferences  should  be  carefully  avoided. 
The  covenant  was  essentially  a  conditioned 

The    two    essential  •  l  •    l  •       xl  •  /■  i  • 

tjjjy  promise,  winch  man,  ni  the  exercise  oi  his 

own  free-will,  might  secure  or  forfeit.     The 

essential  things,  therefore,  in  it  are  the  condition  and  the 


Before  proceeding,  however,  to  consider  these,  it  is  well  to 
notice  another  modification  of  moral  govern- 

Limitationof  prolia-  ,i        •  -i        .i       i.      •,,•  />,i  •     -i      n 

tiou  as  to  the  persons,  ^cut  bcsidcs  thc  limitation  of  the  period  of 
probation  introduced  into  this  economy ; 
and  that  is,  the  limitation  as  to  the  persons  put  on  trial. 
We  have  seen  that  simple  justice  deals  with  men  as  individ- 
uals.    Each  man  stands  or  falls  accordinp-  to  his  own  inteo-- 

o  o 

rity.  But  in  the  covenant  of  works  one  stood  for  all. 
Adam  represented  all  that  were  to  be  descended  from  him 
by  ordinary  generation.  They  were  tried  in  him.  Had  he 
stood,  they  would  have  been  justified  through  his  righteous- 
ness, and  adopted  into  God's  family  as  sons.  As  he  sinned, 
they  sinned  in  him  and  fell  with  him  in  his  first  transgression, 
and  thus  became  outcasts  and  aliens.  The  provision  by 
which  Adam  was  made  a  public  person,  and 

A  provision  of  pure  ..  ,     -i  •j.-T'Ii- 

goodness.  ^^^t  treated  as  a  private    individual,  is  as 

much  a  provision  of  pure  goodness  as  any 

other  provision  of  the  whole  scheme.     If  he  had  maintained 

270  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

his  integrity,  and  avc  had  inherited  life  and  glory  through 
his  obedienee,  none  would  ever  have  dreamed  that  there  was 
aught  of  hardship  or  cruelty  in  the  scheme  by  which  our 
happiness  had  been  to  us  so  cheaply  secured.  The  difference 
of  result  makes  no  difference  in  the  nature  of  the  principle. 
But  those  who  object  do  not  bear  in  mind  that  the  hnv  which 
made  Adam  our  head  and  representative  is  the  law  by  virtue 
of  which  alone,  so  far  as  we  know,  the  happiness  of  any  man 
can  be  secured.  Without  the  principle  of  representation  it 
is  possible  that  the  whole  race  might  have  perished  and 
perished  for  ever.  Each  man,  as  the  species  successively 
came  into  existence,  would  have  been  placed  under  the  law 
of  distributive  justice.  His  safety,  therefore,  would  have 
been  for  ever  contingent.  It  is  possible  that  if  the  first  man, 
with  all  his  advantages,  abused  his  liberty  and  fell,  each  of 
his  descendants  might  imitate  his  example  and  fall  also.  It 
is  possible,  therefore,  that  the  whole  race  might  have  been 
involved  in  guilt  and  ruin.  Some  might  have  stood  longer 
than  others,  but  what  is  any  measure  of  time  to  immortality? 
Who  shall  say  that,  in  the  boundless  progress  of  their 
immortal  being,  one  by  one,  all  may  not  have  sinned  ?  It 
is  certainly  possible  and  probable  that  this  would  have  been 
the  ease.  It  is  certain  that  nniltitudes  would  have  abused 
their  freedom  and  perished.  But  to  sin  under  such  circum- 
stances is  to  sin  hopelessly.  There  can  be  no  redeemer  if 
each  man  is  to  be  treated  exclusively  as  an  individual.     If 

we  cannot  sin  in  another,  we  cannot  be  re- 
No  salvation   witli-        i  i    i  .i  ^r-    .1  •       •     i  /• 

out  representation.  dccmcd  by  auothcr.  U  tlic  principle  of 
representation  is  to  be  excluded  from  God's 
government,  salvation  to  the  guilty  must  also  be  excluded. 
Under  this  princi])le  multitudes  are  in  fact  saved,  when  with- 
out it  all  might  have  been  lost.  Hence,  it  is  clearly  a  pro- 
vision of  grace — it  was  introduced  for  our  good ;  for  our 
safety,  our  happiness,  and  not  as  a  snare  or  a  eui'se.  God 
seems  to  have  had  an  eye  to  it  when  He  constituted  our 
species  a  race  connected  by  unity  of  blood,  and  not  a  collec- 
tion of  individuals  belonging  to  the  same  class,  simply  be- 

Lect.  xii.]  the  covenant  of  works.  271 

cause  they  possess  the  same  logical  properties.  He  made 
Adam  the  root,  because  He  designed  to  make 
s^Zt:tT-  hnn  the  head;  the  father,  because  He  de- 
signed  to  make  him  the  representative  of  all 
mankind.  The  generic  constitution  evidently  looks  to  the 
federal  relation.  We  are  one  by  birth,  because  we  were  des- 
tined to  be  one  by  covenant.  In  all  the  instances  in  which 
God  has  appointed  that  one  should  federally  represent  others, 
there  has  been  some  natural  tie — especially  the  tie  of  blood 
— between  the  head  and  the  members.  There  is  no  case  in 
which  the  appointment  has  been  arbitrary.  It  is  always  the 
parent  who  stands  for  his  children  ;  the  king  who  stands  for 
his  subjects.  There  is,  therefore,  a  significancy  in  this  pecu- 
liarity of  our  species.  The  angels  have  no  blood  connection, 
and,  so  far  as  we  know,  the  principle  of  representation  has  no 
place  in  the  Divine  economy  with  reference  to  them.  We 
are  not  competent  to  say  that  a  logical  unity  of  species,  even 
where  there  is  no  tie  of  race,  may  not  be  an  adequate  foun- 
dation for  federal  headship ;  we  cannot  say  that  the  govern- 
ment of  God  over  angels  must  necessarily  have  contemplated 
them  exclusively  as  individuals,  because  they  are  not  de- 
scended one  from  another,  and  have  not  the  unity  of  a  com- 
mon stock.  We  do  not  know  sufficiently  the  essential 
grounds  and  conditions  of  the  representative  relation  to  pro- 
nounce dogmatically  that  it  can  never  be  instituted,  where 
the  same  circumstances  do  not  obtain  whicli  are  found  in 
the  case  of  man.  It  may  be  that  a  common  blood  is  indis- 
pensable— that  there  is  something  in  this  natural  unity  which 
so  identifies  the  moral  interests  of  the  race  as  to  render  it 
extremely  proper  that  the  branches  should  be  determined  by 
the  root,  the  destiny  of  the  children  by  the  fortunes  of  the 
father.  This  may  be  so,  but  we  have  no  positive  data  for 
saying  that  it  must  be  so.  All  we  know  is,  that  natural  de- 
scent determines  representation  in  reference  to  man — that 
our  being  one  blood  is  the  ground  of  our  being  treated  as 
one  man,  in  the  person  of  our  first  father.  He  represented 
all  who  descend  from  him  by  the  ordinary  law  of  the  propa- 

272  THE   COVENANT    OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

gation  of  the  species.  He  was  the  whole  of  his  posterity 
inchulcd  in  his  loins,  who  would  have  been  introduced  into 
the  world  in  the  ordinary  way  had  not  sin  entered.  An 
extraordinary  descendant,  introduced  into  the  world  apart 
from  that  law,  and  forming  no  part  of  the  race  according  to 
its  original  destination,  would  not  be  represented.  He  was 
not  in  the  root ;  he  was  not  i)roperly  in  the  loins  of  Adam ; 
he  was  not  one  who  would  have  been  born  if  the  species  had 
followed  its  normal  development.  Hence,  representation  is 
confined  to  the  descendants  who  spring  from  Adam  according 
to  the  established  law  of  propagation ;  and  these  sustain  to 
him  the  double  relation  of  children  to  a  parent,  and  of  mem- 
bers to  a  covenant  head.  He  stood  for  them  in  the  first  dis- 
pensation of  religion.  They  were  tried  in  his  person.  The 
whole  species  was  considered  as  contained  in  him.  He  was 
not  only  a  man,  but  Man,  and  the  state  in  which  they  find 
themselves  must  be  traced  directly  to  his  disastrous  agency. 
The  natural  tie  is  the  ground  of  the  federal  tie ;  we  were 
represented  by  our  father  because  we  were  really  and  truly 
in  the  loins  of  our  father.  This  modification  of  the  principles 
of  moral  government,  by  which  all  were  included  in  one  and 
probation  limited  to  a  single  individual,  is  no  less  remark- 
able than  that  which  concentres  an  immortality  of  trial  Into 
the  space  of  a  brief  period.     The  ruling 

Representation     of  j  j^-^j^  induCcd  thc  modification  WaS 


grace ;  and  however  the  principle  has  been 
perverted  by  man,  and  made  the  instrument  of  Involving 
the  race  In  ruin,  it  has  been  revealed  in  Its  real  significancy 
by  God,  who  has  made  it  the  Instrument  of  peopling  heaven 
with  innumerable  myriads  of  souls  who  might  have  been 
hopelessly  lost  had  not  His  government  over  us  admitted 
the  possibility  of  laying  help  upon  One  who  was  mighty  and 
able  to  save.  In  redemption,  God  illustrated  It  according 
to  its  true  scope  and  in  its  genuine  spirit.  It  was  engrafted 
upon  the  economy  of  man's  religion,  that  men  might  speedily 
achieve  a  destiny  of  incalculable  glory,  or,  failing  in  the  trial, 
might  yet  be  rescued  from  complete  and  universal  perdition. 

Lect.  xil]  the  covenant  of  works.  273 

It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  although  blood,  or  anity  of 
race,  is  the  ground  of  federal  representation,  yet  federal  rep- 
resentation is  the  ground  of  either  benefit  or  injury  from  the 
success  or  failure  of  our  head.  Had  Adam  stood,  we  should 
all  have  been  justified  and  confirmed  in  glory  by  the  impu- 
tation of  his  obedience;    that   imputation 

Imputation  proceeds  ill  11*  Tj_i 

from  the  federal  tie,  ^ould  havc  procccdcd  immediately  upon 
the  federal  and  not  upon  the  natural  unity. 
Had  not  Adam  been  appointed  to  represent  us,  the  mere  cir- 
cumstance that  he  was  our  first  parent  would  not  have  in- 
volved us  in  the  legal  consequences  of  his  sin,  nor  would  it 
have  entitled  us  to  the  legal  rewards  of  his  righteousness. 
His  fall  is  ours,  because  in  the  covenant  we  were  included 
in  him.  Without  this  federal  relation  we  should  have  been 
born  in  the  same  relations  to  God  in  which  he  was  created. 
His  character  would  have  affected  us  only  in  the  way  of  ex- 
ample, education  and  influence ;  but  not  in  the  way  of  im- 
putation. It  is  not  by  the  law  of  propagation,  or  the  prin- 
ciple that  like  begets  like,  that  we  are  born  sinners.  Sin 
does  not  belong  to  the  essence  of  man — it  is  a  separable  acci- 
dent ;  and  as  propagation  determines  the  species  and  not  its 
accidents,  it  could  never  shape  our  character.  Our  blood 
relation  to  Adam  would  only  settle  the  fact  that  we  must  be 
men,  and  not  beasts  or  plants ;  it  would  not  determine 
whether  we  should  be  holy  or  sinful  men.  That  would  de- 
pend upon  the  state  in  which  it  was  fit  that  God  should  in- 
troduce us  into  a  state  of  personal  probation.  That  would 
be  determined  by  the  same  law  which  determined  the  cha- 
racter of  Adam  when  he  came  from  the  hands  of  his  Maker 
— a  law  which  renders  it  absolutely  necessary  that  we  should 
be  endowed  with  all  the  habits  and  dispositions  that  qualify 
us  for  the  destiny  we  are  appointed  to  work  out.  The 
natural  tie  determines  only  who  are  represented ;  the  federal 
tie  actually  causes  them  to  be  represented.  We  sinned  in 
Adam,  and  fell  with  him  in  his  first  transgression,  because 
the  covenant  was  made  with  him  for  us,  and  not  because 
we  have  sprung  from  his  loins.  Still,  our  being  sprung 
Vol.  I.— 18 

274  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  [Lkct.  XII, 

from  his  loins  is  the  ground  of  our  being  represented  by 

If  natural  descent  regulated  the  transmission  of  character, 
then  no  reason  can  be  given  why  the  chil- 

and  not  from  the  nat-        ^  i?'a.lll  j.!,!^  ii 

^j.^1  dren  oi   samts  should  not    be   born  holy. 

They  are  themselves  new  creatures,  and  why 
are  not  their  descendants  born  after  this  type?  To  say  that 
they  generate  as  men,  and  not  as  saints,  is  to  give  up  the 
question,  for  to  generate  simply  as  man  is  to  generate  with- 
out character.  To  say  that  they  must  generate  according  to 
their  first  type  as  sinners  is  to  give  up  the  question  in  an- 
other form,  for  the  first  type  of  Adam  was  holiness.  Sin 
was  a  superinduced  state,  and  if  he  had  to  generate  accord- 
ing to  his  first  type,  all  would  have  been  born  holy. 

These  two  modifications  of  moral  government — the  limit- 
ation of  probation  as  to  time,  and  the  limitation  of  proba- 
tion as  to  jjersons,  have  introduced    two 

Two    all-pervading  •       •    i  i  •    i  i  t 

principles.  pmiciples  wliich   pcrvadc  every  dispensa- 

tion of  religion  to  our  race — the  princijile 
of  justification  and  the  principle  of  imputation.  They  are 
the  very  key-notes  both  of  the  legal  and  evangelical  cove- 
nants. Strike  them  away  from  the  economy  of  God  toward 
man,  and  the  whole  Bible  would  be  stripped  of  all  its  signi- 
ficancy.  They  are  principles  grounded  in  grace,  sjiringing 
from  the  free  and  spontaneous  goodness  of  God — purposes  of 
kindness  of  which  nature  and  reason  gave  no  prophecy  nor 
hint,  and  therefore  necessitating  that  the  religion  pervaded 
and  conditioned  by  them  must  be  supernaturally  revealed. 
They  imply  a  covenant,  and  in  the  very  natui*e  of  the  case 
a  covenant  is  not  an  inference  of  reason. 

I.  We  have  already  seen  that  the  dispensation  of  religion, 

commonly  called  the  Covenant  of  Works,  as  founded  in  a 

goodness  and  contemplating  a  reward  which  nature  could 

not  have  anticipated,  necessarily  implies  the 

The  condition  of  the        •     ,  ,•  n  -i     ,•  rn^  !•,• 

covenaut  positive.  intervention  of  revelation.     The  condition 

of  the  covenant  brings  out  another  pecu- 
liarity which  is  incidental  to  a  revealed  system,  and  which 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OP   WORKS.  275 

is  equally  removed  from  the  suggestions  of  human  reason. 
I  allude  to  the  distinction  betwixt  moral  and  positive  duties. 
The  prohibition  which  God  gave  to  the  first  pair  in  the  gar- 
den of  Eden  was  not  grounded  in  essential  rectitude,  but  in 
sovereign  command.  In  itself  considered,  the  fruit  of  the 
forbidden  tree  was  no  more  inconsistent  with  the  image  of 
God  in  man  than  the  fruit  of  any  other  tree  in  the  garden. 
It  was  a  sin  to  eat  of  it,  not  because  the  thing  was  inhe- 
rently wrong,  but  because  it  was  expressly  forbidden. 

The   distinction   betwixt  the  two  classes  of  duties  has 

Butler  on  the  differ-     hardly   becu   rcsolvcd   by   Bishop   Butler 

ence  betwixt  moral     -^vith  liis  usual  prccisiou.      Hc  malvos  the 

aud  i)ositive  duties.  -\'/>o  t       •  i  • 

diiierence  to  Jie  in  the  cn-cumstance  that 
in  the  one  case  we  see,  and  in  the  other  we  do  not  see,  the 
reason  of  the  command.  "  Moral  precepts,"  he  remarks, 
"  are  precepts  the  reason  of  which  we  see ;  positive  pre- 
cepts are  precepts  the  reasons  of  which  we  do  not  see. 
Moral  duties  arise  out  of  the  nature  of  the  case  itself  prior 
to  external  command.  Positive  duties  do  not  arise  out  of 
the  nature  of  the  case,  but  from  external .  command,  nor 
would  they  be  duties  at  all  were  it  not  for  such  command 
received  from  Him  whose  creatures  and  subjects  we  are." 
And  yet  Bishop  Butler  admits  that  the  positive  duty,  in  so 
far  as  it  is  imposed  by  an  authority  which  we  are  morally 
bound  to  obey,  is  in  that  respect  to  be  considered  as  moral. 
But  that  is  simply  saying  that  considered  as  a  duty  at  all  it 
is  moral.  We  see  the  only  reason  which  makes  it  obligatory 
upon  us,  and  consequently,  according  to  the  distinction  in 
question,  it  takes  its  place  among  the  moral  and  not  among 
the  positive  j)recepts — that  is,  the  distinction  annihilates 
itself.  It  admits  in  one  breath  that  there  are  duties  which 
as  duties  may  be  regarded  as  positive,  and  in  the  very  next 
affirms  that  as  duties  they  are  not  positive. 

The  real  difference   is  grounded  in  the  relation  of  the 
thing  commanded  to   the  Divine  nature. 

The  real  difference.  i  i  • 

When  the  thing  commanded  springs  from 
the  holiness  of  God,  or  the  essential  rectitude  of  the  Divine 

276  THE   COVENAXT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

Being,  the  precept  is  moral ;  when  the  tiling  commanded 
springs  from  the  free  decisions  of  the  Divine  will,  or  the 
free  determinations  of  Divine  wisdom,  the  precept  is  posi- 
tive. The  moral  could  not  have  been  otherwise  than  com- 
manded; the  positive  might  not  have  been  commanded. 
The  moral  is  eternal  and  necessary  right ;  the  positive  in- 
stituted and  mutable  law.  The  moral  is  written  upon  the 
conscience  of  every  responsible  being ;  the  positive  is  made 
known  by  express  revelation.  The  moral  is  the  image  of 
God's  holiness ;  the  positive  is  the  offspring  of  the  Divine 
will.  One  is  essential ;  the  other  made  right.  The  imme- 
diate ground  of  obligation  in  respect  to  both  is  the  same — 
the  supreme  authority  of  God.  The  positive,  in  so  far  as 
the  form  of  duty  is  concerned,  is  moral ;  in  so  far  as  the 
matter  is  concerned  it  is  arbitrary.  The  moral  obligation 
in  respect  to  one  is  as  perfect  and  complete  as  in  respect  to 
the  other.  We  are  as  much  bound  to  obey  God  enjoining 
the  indifferent,  and  thus  making  it  cease  to  be  indifferent, 
as  when  He  enjoins  the  eternal  rules  of  rectitude. 

In  case  of  a  collision  between  the  moral  and  positive. 
Bishop  Butler  gives  the  preference  to  the 

Butler  on  the  prefer-  i  ii-i  itijI 

ence  of  the  moral.  moral,  ou  a  grouud  wliich  cau  hardly  stand 
examination,  to  wit :  that  we  can  perceive 
a  "reason  for  the  preference  and  none  against  it" — that  is, 
because  in  the  one  case  we  see  the  reason  of  the  command, 
and  in  the  other  we  do  not.  But  although  we  do  not  see 
the  reason  why  the  thing  is  commanded,  we  do  see  the  rea- 
son why  it  is  obligatory.  We  do  not  see  why  God  has 
selected  this  rather  than  any  other  positive  institution,  but, 
being  selected,  we  do  see  the  reason  why  Ave  are  bound  to 
respect  it.  The  will  of  God  is  the  highest  formal  ground 
of  obligation,  and  when  that  will  is  known  to  us,  nothing 
can  be  added  to  make  the  duty  more  perfect.  The  posi- 
tive, therefore,  is  as  completely  binding,  creates  as  com- 
plete a  moral  obligation,  as  the  moral,  and  hence  no  reason 
for  preference  can  be  found  in  the  formal  autliority  of  the 
precepts.     The  true  reason  is  unquestionably  the  one  which 

Lect.  xil]  the  covenant  of  works.  277 

he  next  assigns,  "  that  positive  institutions  are  means  to  a 
moral  end,  and  the  end  must  be  acknowledged  more  excel- 
lent than  the  means."  This  relation  proceeds  from  the 
very  nature  of  the  case — the  positive,  as  decrees  of  wisdom 
are  subsidiary  to  the  ends  of  holiness.  They  are  the  crea- 
tures of  a  will  regulated  necessarily  by  right,  and  subordi- 
nating every  contingent  determination  to  essential  and  eter- 
nal good.  God's  nature  determines  His  will.  What,  there- 
fore, contradicts  essential  rectitude  ceases  to  be  the  will 
of  God.  The  command  foils  Avhenever  the  contradiction 
emerges.  There  is  consequently  no  conflict  of  duties — the 
positive  is  ipso  facto  repealed.  To  assert  otherwise  is  to 
assert  that  God  can  annihilate  the  moral;  that  He  can 
make  virtue  to  be  vice  and  vice  to  be  virtue,  truth  to  be  a 
crime  and  a  lie  to  be  duty ;  that  He  can  deny  Himself. 
Under  a  dispensation  which  was  to  try  the  fidelity  of  man 
Peculiar  fitness  of  ^f  ^  scrvaut  preparatory  to  his  introduc- 
the  positive  as  the  tiou  iuto  a  higher  statc,  there  was  a  pecu- 
liar fitness  in  making  the  matter  of  the 
trial  turn  upon  positive  observances.  This  species  of  pre- 
cept brings  the  will  of  the  master  to  bear  distinctly,  in  its 
naked  character  as  will,  upon  the  will  of  the  subject.  The 
whole  issue  resolves  itself  into  a  question  of  authority.  The 
case  is  simply.  Which  shall  be  the  supreme,  the  will  of  man 
or  the  will  of  God  ?  The  whole  doctrine  of  sin  and  holi- 
ness in  their  last  determinations  is  found  precisely  here. 
Sin  is  essentially  selfishness,  as  we  shall  see  hereafter ;  holi- 
ness in  a  creature  is  the  complete  submergence  of  his  will  in 
the  will  of  his  Maker.  "  I  have  a  right  to  be  and  do  as  I 
please,"  is  the  language  of  sin.  "  The  will  of  God  should 
alone  be  done,"  is  the  language  of  obedience.  The  very 
core  of  moral  distinctions,  the  central  principle  upon  which 
men  are  determined  to  be  either  sinful  or  holy,  is  brought 
out  into  trial  under  circumstances  which  make  it  certain 
that  it  shall  be  a  trial  purely  without  foreign  and  extra- 
neous influences,  an  unmixed  trial  of  its  supremacy  in  man, 
by  making  the  question  of  his  destiny  turn  immediately  upon 

278  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

a  positive  command.  The  very  depths  of  his  moral  nature 
were  sounded  and  explored  in  that  command.  We  can  con- 
ceive of  no  mode  of  probation  better  suited  to  the  end  in 
view.  We  have  seen  already  the  relation  in  which  the  will 
must  stand  to  our  moral  dispositions  and  habits  in  order  to 
make  them  personal  and  reflective  principles ;  to  translate 
the^n  from  the  sphere  of  tendencies  and  instincts  into  that  of 
intelligent,  conscious,  voluntary  activity.  The  end  to  be  at- 
tained is  that  the  finite  creature  shall  make  God  its  supreme 
end ;  the  will  of  God  its  supreme  law  ;  the  glory  of  God  its 
highest  good.  To  attain  this  end  the  creature  must  renounce 
its  own  self  as  a  law,  and  determine  its  will  only  by  the  will 
of  God.  The  degree  to  which  it  renounces  self-will  and  em- 
braces the  Divine  will  determines  the  degree  in  which  it  is 
conformed,  consciously  and  reflectively,  to  the  moral  law. 
If,  therefore,  the  main  question  is  that  of  the  relation  of  the 
finite  to  the  infinite  will,  it  ought  to  be  so  stated  as  to  rule 
out  all  secondary  and  collateral  issues.  God's  will  must 
come  into  contact  with  man's,  nakedly  and  exclusively,  as 
will.  The  command  must  seem  to  be  arbitrary — no  reason 
in  the  nature  of  the  thing  presented.  The  case  will  then 
test  man's  faith  in  God,  and  his  readiness  to  follow  Him 
with  implicit  confidence,  simply  and  exclusively  because  He 
is  God.  There  is,  consequently,  the  profoundest  wisdom  in 
the  Divine  dispensation  which  made  the  trial  of  the  first 
pair  turn  upon  a  positive  command.  It  brought  their  wills 
face  to  face  with  the  will  of  God ;  it  asked  the  question.  Who 
should  reign  ?  It  made  no  side  issues ;  it  put  at  once  upon 
test  the  fundamental  principle  upon  which  alone  their  native 
purity  could  be  made  the  ingredients — the  fixed  contents  of 
their  will. 

Hence,  the  tree  in  relation  to  which  the  prohibition  was 

Why  the  tree  of  the     givcu,  aud  which  constitutes  the  expressed 

knowledge  of  good  and     couditiou    of  thc  covcuaut,  is   Called   The 

evil,  so  called.  i'    i       i  77  r  7  t        -i       -xt       i 

tree  of  the  knowledge  oj  good  and  evil.  JNlan  s 
conduct  in  regard  to  that  tree  was  to  determine  whether  he 
should  choose  the  good  or  the  evil ;  whether  the  type  of  cha- 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  279 

racter  which  he  should  permanently  acquire  through  the 
exercise  of  his  will  should  be  holy  or  sinful.  The  know- 
ledge spoken  of  is  that  practical  knowledge  which  consists  in 
determinations  of  the  will,  and  not  the  speculative  appre- 
hension or  intelligent  discernment  of  moral  distinctions. 
Man  already  knew  the  right  and  the  wrong ;  the  law  of  God 
was  written  upon  his  heart,  and  the  whole  constitution  of  his 
nature  was  in  unison  with  the  essential  and  immutable  dis- 
tinctions of  the  true  and  the  good.  But  as  he  was  mutable, 
as  that  mutability  lay  in  his  will,  and  as  his  will  had  to 
decide  whether  he  should  preserve  or  lose  the  image  of  God 
in  which  he  was  created,  that  which  was  to  determine  what 
his  choice  should  be  might  well  be  called  his  means  of 
knowing,  in  the  sense  of  cleaving  to  or  einbracing,  good  or 
evil.  The  tree  was  simj)ly  the  instrument  of  trying  the  hu- 
man will ;  and  if,  instead  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and 
evil,  you  call  it  the  tree  of  the  choice  of  good  and  evil,  you 
will  have  what  I  take  to  be  the  precise  import  of  the  in- 
spired appellation.  Knowledge  is  often  put  for  the  practical 
determinations  of  the  Avill.  Our  moral  nature  is  called  a 
practical  understanding,  and  its  decisions  may  therefore  be 
properly  represented  in  terms  of  knowledge. 

This  explanation  is  so  natural,  so  obviously  in  harmony 
with  the  whole  design  of  the  prohibition, 

This  view  overturns  t  i     i     i  i        ,         • ,  i      .  i 

sundry  iiypotheses.  ^ud  SO  Completely  accordaut  with  the  usus 
loquendi  of  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  that  one 
is  at  a  loss  to  conjecture  how  commentators  could  have  per- 
plexed themselves  so  grievously  as  some  have  done  in  rela- 
tion to  tlie  nature  and  functions  of  the  tree.  The  difficulty 
has  arisen,  in  most  cases,  from  not  perceiving  the  fitness  of 
a  positive  precept  as  the  immediate  matter  of  man's  trial. 
Hence,  the  Mosaic  account  has  appeared  unreasonable  and 
absurd,  and  various  hypotheses  have  been  invented  to  bring 
it  within  the  sphere  of  our  notions  of  propriety.  One  finds 
in  the  whole  description  of  the  paradisaical  state  a  figure  to 
illustrate  the  operations  of  sense  and  reason.  Another  finds 
in  the  nature  of  the  two  prominent  trees  of  the  garden,  and 

280  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

the  effects  of  their  fruit  upon  man's  physical  constitution,  the 
ground  of  the  prohibition  in  the  one  case 

The    effects   of   the  1j1  ••  -ji  ji  TjI 

fruit  not  physical.  ^ncl  the  pcrmissiou  in  the  other,  and  the 
origin  of  their  peculiar  names.  We  are 
gravely  told  that  the  tree  of  life  bore  healthful  and  nutritious 
fruit,  and  Avas  specially  calculated  to  immortalize  the  frame ; 
it  was  a  tree  of  life,  because  it  secured  and  perpetuated  life. 
The  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  on  the  other 
hand,  was  "  a  hurtful,  poisonous  tree ;"  ^  and  the  prohibition 
in  regard  to  it  was  only  a  salutary  premonition  of  danger 
proceeding  from  the  apprehension  of  God  that  Adam,  if  left 
to  himself,  might  poison  his  system.  The  import  of  the 
command  was  simply.  Do  not  poison  thyself.  It  was  called 
the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  because  it  Avas  a 
means  of  teaching  man  prudence  :  "  If  he  ate  of  the  fruit  of 
the  tree,  it  would  be  to  his  hurt ;  and  by  the  evil  he  would 
suffer,  he  would  become  wise  and  learn  in  future  to  be  more 
circumspect."  Others,  again — and  in  this  opinion  the  Dutch 
divines  of  the  Federalist  school  generally 

This  tree  uot  a  sa-  i    j_i  •      ^  j_    i 

crament.  concur — regard  this  tree  as  a  sacramental 

symbol.  The  notion  which  they  mean  to 
convey  may  be  right  enough,  but  the  language  is  altogether 
inappropriate.  A  sacramental  symbol  is  at  once  a  sign  and 
a  seal.  Of  what  was  this  tree  a  sign  ?  Not  of  the  prohibi- 
tion. It  was  the  very  matter  of  the  prohibition — the  thing 
itself,  and  not  a  representative.  Not  of  the  moral  law  or 
the  principle  of  universal  obedience.  That  whole  principle 
was  involved  in  the  issue  of  man's  conduct  in  relation  to  the 
tree.  It  was  not  a  putative,  but  a  real  guilt ;  not  a  symbol- 
ical, but  a  real  sin  that  he  would  commit  in  eating  of  the 
forbidden  fruit.  The  entire  law,  in  that  which  determines 
its  formal  character  as  law  or  an  expression  of  the  Divine 
will,  was  itself  broken  in  the  contempt  of  the  Divine  autho- 
rity, which  the  eating  of  the  fruit  involved.  Hence,  we  can- 
not, without  a  violent  catachresis,  make  that  sacramental  and 
symbolical  which  signified  and  scaled  nothing  but  itself. 
^  Knapp,  i.,  p.  385. 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  281 

The  prohibition  did  not  represent,  but  was  itself,  the  condi- 
tion of  the  first  dispensation  of  religion.  What  those  who 
adopt  this  view  mean  to  condemn  by  making  the  tree  sym- 
bolical is  the  preposterous  notion,  fit  only  for  Socinians  and 
Rationalists,  that  this  tree  was  the  sole  condition  of  the  cove- 
nant ;  so  that  man  might  have  violated  the  moral  law,  and 
yet  if  he  abstained  from  this  fruit  he  could  not  have  been 
subject  to  death :  death  was  an  evil  specifically  annexed  to 
this  prohibition  and  to  nothing  else. 

It  is  obvious,  however,  from  what  has  already  been  said, 
that  the  positive  can  neither  supersede  nor 

The    positive,   how-  ,      ,  ,    ,  _,,  , 

ever,  cannot  supersede     repeal  tlic  moral  law.     lliat  law  was  writ- 

the  moral,  written  up-       ^^j-^  ™qj^  ^]-^g  }^gj^^,f    ^^-^^  Jj.g  obligation  COuld 

on  the  heart.  j-  ^  o 

no  more  be  revoked  than  the  nature  of 
man  destroyed  or  the  holiness  of  God  expunged.  That 
law,  in  the  conviction  of  good  and  ill  desert  with  which  it 
was  attended  in  the  conscience,  contained  moreover  an  ex- 
plicit promise  to  obedience  and  an  explicit  threat  to  disobe- 
dience. Hence,  there  needed  no  revelation  to  communicate 
in  relation  to  it  what  man  knew  already,  and  knew  from  the 
constitution  of  his  own  mind.  The  only  thing  in  regard  to 
which  supernatural  teaching  was  required  was  the  positive 
precept  and  the  penalty  under  which  it  was  enforced.  That 
It  was  added  to  the  ^as  placed  ou  the  same  footing  of  author- 
morai,aiKi  man  placed     jty  with  tlic  moral  law  by  thc  express  will 

under  a  twofold  law.  n   r^      -i         mi  «>  r>     i   • 

ot  (jrod.  ihe  eiiect  of  this  revelation  was 
to  make  the  ^vhole  law  under  which  man  was  placed  two- 
fold, and  to  render  it  necessary  that  he  should  obey  both  in 
order  that  his  obedience  might  be  perfect.  The  positive 
was  added  to  the  moral,  not  substituted  in  the  place  of  it, 
and  enforced  under  the  same  sanction ;  and  to  fail  in  either 
was  to  fail  in  both.  The  import  of  the  positive  command 
is,  that  over  and  above  those  eternal  rules  of  right  which 
spring  from  the  necessary  relations  betwixt  God  and  the 
creature,  and  which  were  already  fully  revealed  in  the  very 
structure  of  the  moral  understanding,  there  was  now  im- 
posed upon  man  by  external  revelation  a  jjositive  prccejit  to 

282  THE    COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

which  the  same  penalty  was  attached  which  conscience  con- 
nected with  the  moral  law.  His  obligations  were  enlarged, 
and  not  contracted.  This  resnlts  from  the  very  nature  of 
the  case.  Had  man  sinned  by  falsehood,  malice,  cruelty,  or 
any  other  breach  of  the  law  written  upon  his  heart,  the 
The    question   of     couscquences  would  have  been  the  same  as 

man's  allegiance  more  ^\^qqq  ^yhich  followed  thc  Catlug  of  the  for- 
speedily  and  fully  de-  _  _  .  i   •         n 

termiiied  through  the  bidden  fruit.  But  tlic  qucstiou  of  his  alle- 
^°^'*'^®'  giance  to  God  could  evidently  be  brought 

more  speedily  to  a  crisis  by  the  intervention  of  a  positive 
command.  The  issue  would  be  brought  on  by  the  natural 
apj)etite  and  desires  of  the  flesh,  and  will  be  arrayed  face  to 
face  with  will  by  the  collision  which  harmless  lust  superin- 
duced with  command.  In  this  way  the  question  could  be 
raised  in  the  human  soul  whether  the  formal  principle  of 
obligation  to  the  whole  moral  law  should  be  supremely  re- 
spected or  not.  Hence,  the  positive  is  all  that  appears  in 
the  narrative,  not  because  it  was  all  that  was  real  in  the 
covenant,  but  because  it  was  all  that  needed  revelation  to 
teach  it,  and  because  it  was  the  only  point  in  relation  to 
which  the  question  of  obedience  was  likely  to  come  to  an 
issue ;  it  was  the  only  point  in  which  a  real  trial  of  man's 
fidelity  was  likely  to  be  made.  Hence,  the  condition  of  the 
covenant  must  not  be  restricted  to  the  positive  command. 

It  was  the  whole  law  under  which  man 
undeTtheTwIoi^'itw.''     was  placcd,  uioral  and  positive— the  whole 

rule  of  duty,  whether  internally  or  exter- 
nally made  known. 

That  the  moral  law  was  enjoined  upon  him  under  the 
same  sanction  as  the  positive  precept  we  know,  not  only 
from  the   testimony  of  conscience,   but  from   the  express 

teachings  of  Scripture  in  other  parts  of  the 
t£Zr  """""'     sacred  volume.      Paul,  in  the  Epistle  to 

the  Romans,  makes  the  merit  of  righteous- 
ness and  the  demerit  of  sin  the  fundamental  doctrine  of 
moral  government.  What  those  gain  who  perfectly  obey  is 
life ;  what  those  incur  Avho  disobey  is  death ;  and,  what  is 

Lect.  Xir.]  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  283 

remarkable,  he  represents  the  heathen  as  knowing  that  those 
who  flagrantly  transgress  the  moral  law  are  worthy  of  death. 
The  wages  of  sin,  he  assures  us — and  sin  is  the  transgression 
of  any  law  of  God — the  wages  of  sin  is  death.  The  whole 
scheme  of  redemption  proceeds  upon  this  postulate.  The 
law  as  law,  and  without  reference  to  the  distinction  of  posi- 
tive and  moral,  is  and  must  be  enforced  by  a  penal  sanction, 
or  it  degenerates  into  mere  advice.  There  is  another  con- 
sideration which  is  decisive,  and  which  I  do  not  remember 
ever  to  have  seen  presented,  and  that  is 

the   moral    law     tho       that  UulcSS  the  moral  law,  through  the  con- 
positive  precept  couW     viction    of  good  and    ill    desert,    had  con- 

have  had  no  forco.  "  _  ■' 

nected  favour  with  obedience,  and  death 
with  disobedience,  the  sanction  of  the  positive  precept  must 
have  been  wholly  unintelligible.  It  could  not  have  been  a 
moral  motive.  It  could  only  have  addressed  itself  to  our 
hopes  and  fears,  and  operated  upon  us  as  caresses  and  kicks 
operate  uj)on  a  brute.  But  the  feeling  that  he  who  dis- 
obeyed ought  to  die,  that  there  was  a  ground  in  justice  and 
in  right  for  his  being  accursed,  could  not  have  arisen  un- 
less there  were  previously  in  the  soul  the  formal  notion  of 
justice.  Moral  obligation,  as  contradistinguished  from  mere 
inducement,  could  not  have  been  conceived.  But  given  the 
primitive  cognition  of  justice,  and  of  moral  obligation  as 
involving  the  notion  of  merit  and  demerit,  and  then  the 
case  is  plain.  The  will  of  God  creates  the  j^ositive  duty ; 
that  will  lays  a  moral  ground  for  obedience ;  transgression, 
therefore,  becomes  morally  a  crime,  and  the  conscience  nat- 
urally connects  it  with  death  as  its  just  and  righteous  retri- 
bution. Hence,  the  obligation  and  authority  of  the  moral 
law  are  presupposed  in  order  that  the  obligation  and  author- 
ity of  the  positive  might  be  understood.  Man  cannot  be 
dealt  with  as  a  moral  being  by  positive  precepts  without 
taking  for  granted  the  presence  and  power  of  these  primi- 
tive cognitions,  upon  which  the  very  essence  of  the  moral 

The  importance  of  accurate  notions  in  relation  to  what 

284  THE   COVENANT    OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

was  the  condition  of  the  Covenant  of  Works  depends  upon  this, 
that  our  opinions  on  this  point  materially 

Importance  of  this  t/i  .•  •  ji  •      • 

discussiuu.  moclity  our  notions  concerning  tlie  primi- 

tive condition  of  man.  If  the  positive  pre- 
cept were  the  sole  condition  of  the  threatening,  then  either — 
(1)  we  must  suppose  that  man  was  in  a  state  of  comparative 
infancy,  and  that  God  was  leading  him  by  a  process  of  sen- 
sible discipline  to  the  expansion  and  growth  of  his  moral 
and  intellectual  nature — was  training  him,  as  a  father  trains 
a  child,  to  just  notions  of  truth  and  virtue,  and  with  conde- 
scending kindness  accommodated  his  instructions,  in  the 
selection  of  striking  analogies  from  the  sphere  of  sense,  to 
his  tender  capacities ;  which  is  to  deny  that  man  was  under 
a  moral  government  in  its  Srtrict  and  proper  acceptation, 
because  that  supposes  that  he  is  fully  competent  to  obey, 
that  he  has  all  the  necessary  furniture  of  knowledge,  habits 
and  strength  which  the  law  presupposes,  and  that  he  appre- 
hends thoroughly  his  true  posture  and  relations — or,  (2)  we 
must  assume  with  Warburton  that  death  was  not  so  much  a 
penalty  as  a  failure  to  attain  a  supernatural  good,  and  that 
the  only  effect  of  disobedience  was  to  remand  him  to  his 
original  condition.  All  such  incongruities  are  completely 
obviated  by  the  explanation  which  has  been  given.  The 
tree  was  a  test  of  man's  obedience ;  it  concentrated  his  pro- 
bation upon  a  single  point,  and  implicitly  contained  the 
whole  moral  law. 

II.  The  next  and  most  important  point  is  the  promise 
which  was  to  crown  the  successful  trial  of 
covetr"'"°'""  the  pair.  Everything  depends  upon  the 
nature  of  that  promise.  If  it  Avere  nothing 
more,  as  some  have  maintained  from  the  silence  of  the  his- 
torian, than  the  general  expectation  of  impunity,  and  of  the 
continuance  of  his  present  state  of  favour  during  the  period 
of  his  innocence,  man  certainly  gained  nothing  by  his  transfer 
to  the  garden  of  Eden  but  the  enlargement  of  his  duties  by 
the  addition  of  a  positive  command.  The  dispensation  was 
one  of  restraint  rather  than  of  liberty  ;  an  abridgment  of  his 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  285 

privileges  rather  than  the  concession  of  new  advantages.  It 
is  true  that  Moses  says  nothing  directly  of 
direcuyr^-cungif  »  promisc ;  he  givcs  no  intimation  of  the 
nature  of  the  reward  which  was  proposed 
to  fidelity,  nor  does  he  even  affirm  that  one  was  proposed ; 
but  the  whole  tenor  of  the  narrative  bears  upon  its  face 
that  God  was  meditating  the  good  of  his  creature;  and  that 
the  restrictions  which  he  imposed  looked  to  blessings  of 
which  these  restrictions  were  a  very  cheap  condition.  There 
was  not  only,  in  no  proper  sense,  a  covenant,  but  there  was 
no  modification  of  the  period  of  trial  involved  in  the  notion 
of  moral  government — there  was  no  limitation  to  the  extent 
of  man's  probation — unless  there  was  some  special  promise 
annexed  to  the  peculiarities  of  his  present  circumstances.  It 
does  not  follow,  moreover,  that  because  the  promise  is  not 
recorded  in  the  brief  history  of  the  transaction,  therefore  the 
promise  did  not  exist.  It  may  be  implied  from  the  nature 
of  the  case,  or  it  may  be  articulately  stated  in  other  portions 
of  the  sacred  volume.  The  omission  here  may  be  supplied 
by  other  texts,  and  by  what  we  are  taught  concerning  the 
import  of  the  Divine  dispensations  toward  man.  Unless 
The  scripturea  must  ^^^  Scripturcs  directly  or  indirectly  autlien- 
arbitiate,  and  they  do     ticatc  a  promisc,  wc  are  not   to    presume 

teach  us  ou  this  sub- 
ject, both  iiKiirectiy     that  a  promisc  was  made.     What    is    not 
and  positively.  Contained  in  positive  declarations,  or   de- 

duced by  necessary  inference,  we  are  not  to  receive  as  the 
word  of  God.  Now  I  maintain  that  the  Scriptures,  indi- 
rectly, teach  us  that  there  must  have  been  a  promise,  and 
positively  declare  what  the  promise  was.  I  am  willing  to 
admit  that  nothing  can  be  inferred  from  the  threatening. 
We  cannot  deduce  one  contrary  from  another.  The  sole 
promise  involved  in  a  threat  is  impunity  as  long  as  the 
threatening  is  respected. 

1.  But  it  is  morally  certain  that  a  peculiar  promise  of 
some  sort  must  have  been  given,  dependent  upon  a  limited 
obedience,  from  the  circumstance  that  Adam  was  made  the 
representative  of  the  race.     He  could  not  have  been  treated 

286  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

as  a  public  person  and  yet  placed  under  the  law  of  perpetual 
,     innocence.      To  supi)Ose  this  were  to  sup- 

The  promise  argued  i  i  i 

from  Adam's  headship,  posc  the  moustrous  auomaly  that  his 
descendants  might  have  successively  come 
into  being,  and  yet  without  being  justified  have  been  exempt 
from  the  possibility  of  sin,  or  in  case  of  sin  have  been  ex- 
empt from  the  penalty  of  transgression.  If  there  were  no 
limit  to  his  probation,  he  could  never  be  justified ;  they, 
therefore,  could  never  be  justified  through  him.  The  moral 
condition  of  both  would  be  contingent  and  precarious.  But 
as  they  were  on  trial  only  in  him,  they  must  be  either  pre- 
served from  sin  by  special  grace,  or  in  case  of  sin  be  pre- 
served from  the  imputation  of  guilt.  That  moral  agents 
should  exist  in  circumstances  of  this  sort  is  utterly  prepos- 
terous.^ Hence,  the  constitution  which  made  Adam  a  rep- 
resentative, and  which  put  the  race  on  trial  in  him,  contains 
on  the  face  of  it  a  limitation  of  probation.  There  was  a 
period  when  the  scene  should  be  closed,  and  when  his  des- 
tiny and  that  of  his  descendants  should  be  determined  either 
for  sin  or  holiness.  Before  they  were  born  it  was  to  be  set- 
tled, and  settled  by  him,  under  what  law  they  should  be  born, 
whether  that  of  righteousness  or  death.  Every  passage  of 
Scripture  which  teaches  that  Adam  was  a 
fureT"* "  "'' ''"'"  P^^blic  person,  and  that  his  posterity  sinned 
in  him  and  fell  with  him  in  his  first  trans- 
gression, teaches  by  necessary  implication  that  the  probation 
was  designed  to  be  definite,  and  that  there  was  the  same  op- 
portunity of  securing  justification  as  of  incurring  condemna- 
tion. There  is  a  beautiful  harmony  in  the  whole  scheme 
of  God,  and,  whether  in  nature  or  in  grace,  you  cannot  strike 
out  a  part  without  destroying  the  symmetry  of  the  whole. 
I  cannot  forbear  to  notice,  too,  that  those  who  account  for 
the  propagation  of  sin  ui)on  the  law  of  generation  alone 
cannot  upon  their  theory  infer  any  provision  for  justifica- 
tion in  the  Adamic  economy  from  the  universal  prevalence 
of  sin  and  death.  If  men  are  not  condemned  in  Adam, 
1  See  Eldgely,  vol.  i.,  p.  317. 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  287 

but  only  inlierit  liis  nature  by  the  law  of  descent,  tliere  is 
no  reason  to  postulate  a  constitution  in  which  they  might 
have  been  justified  through  him,  and  there  is  no  reason  to 
infer  that  he  or  any  of  his  race  had  in  his  state  of  innocence 
the  prospect  of  ever  being  confirmed  in  holiness.  But  upon 
the  hypothesis  of  representation  the  possibility  of  justifica- 
tion is  an  inevitable  inference. 

2.  It  is   besides   expressly   declared    that   the   law  was 

ordained  unto  life.     Obedience  is  through- 
More  Scripture  teach-  jji         O'j  •      T        iii 

i„gg  out  the  bcnptures  as  indissolubly  associ- 

ated with  life  as  disobedience  is  associated 
with  death.  "  If  thou  wilt  enter  into  life,  keep  the  com- 
mandments."^ "Who  will  render  to  every  man  according 
to  his  deeds ;  to  them  who  by  patient  continuance  in  well- 
doing seek  for  glory  and  honour  and  immortality,  eternal 
life."  ^  This  passage  is  decisive,  as  its  design  is  evidently  to 
show  the  nature  of  the  disj^ensation  under  which  man  was 
placed  in  innocency  as  preparatory  to  a  just  apprehension  of 
the  provisions  of  the  Gospel.  The  promise  of  eternal  life 
is  no  part  of  the  law  as  such ;  it  is  peculiar  to  it  by  virtue 
of  the  limited  probation  upon  which  man  was  placed.  The 
law  of  creation  was  life  during  the  j)eriod  of  obedience,  and 
eternal  life  could  only  be  the  reward  of  eternal  obedience. 
But  the  law  as  modified  by  grace  was  patient  continuance  in 
well-doing  for  a  season,  and  then  everlasting  security  and 
bliss.  This  was  the  law  under  which  all  men  were  placed 
in  Adam ;  this  the  promise  explicitly  announced  to  them  as 
the  incentive  to  fidelity.  "  And  the  commandment  which 
was  ordained  to  life  I  found  to  be  unto  death."'  "For 
what  the  law  could  not  do,  in  that  it  Avas  weak  through  the 
flesh,  God  sending  his  own  Son  in  the  likeness  of  sinful 
flesh,  and  for  sin,  condemned  sin  in  the  flesh,  that  the  right- 
eousness of  the  law  might  be  fulfilled  in  us  who  walk  not 
after  the  flesh,  but  after  the  Spirit."^  This  passage  teaches 
unequivocally  that  the  law  proposed  a  scheme  of  justifica- 

1  Matt.  xix.  17.  2  Eom.  ii.  6,  7. 

*  Kom.  vii.  10.  *  Kom.  viii.  3,  4. 

•288  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

tion — a  scheme  by  virtue  of  which  men  could  be  reputed  not 
merely  innocent,  but  righteous,  and  that  the  reason  why 
eternal  life  has  not  been  secured  by  it  is  not  the  inadequacy 
of  its  own  promise,  but  the  failure  of  man  to  comply  with 
the  condition.  No  candid  mind  can  weigh  these  texts  with- 
out being  impressed  with  the  conviction  that  Paul  views 
man  as  having  been  placed  in  a  state  in  which  he  might 
have  secured  everlasting  life  by  a  temporary  obedience. 
The  law  contemplated  man  as  under  a  promise,  to  which  the 
preservation  of  his  innocence  for  a  given  period  would  have 
entitled  him ;  and  this  j^romise  necessarily  implies  the  possi- 
bility of  justification.  Hence,  we  are  fully  warranted,  not- 
withstanding the  silence  of  Moses,  in  saying  that  the  essen- 
tial principles  of  moral  government  were  so  modified  by  the 
goodness  of  God  as  to  render  it  possible  for  man  to  pass  from 
a  servant  to  a  son,  from  labour  to  an  indefectible  inheritance. 
3.  But  the  text  last  quoted  gives  us  a  third  argument, 
which  is  even  more  conclusive  still ;  and  tliat  is,  that  the 
work  of  redemption  has  only  achieved  for  us  the  same 
blessings — the  same  in  kind,  however  they  may  differ  in 
degree — which  the  law  previously  proposed  as  the  reward  of 
obedience.  Christ  has  done  for  us  what  the  law  was  ordained 
Thepromisetbrough  ^0  do,  but  failed  to  do  ouly  through  the 
Christ  the  same  with     fiiult  of  uiau.     Whatcvcr,  therefore,  Christ 

the  promise  to  Adam.        ,  i  i       a    i  •    i        i  •        i 

has  purchased,  Aclam  might  have  gamed. 
The  life  which  Christ  bestows  was  in  the  reach  of  Adam ; 
the  glory  which  Christ  imparts  was  accessible  to  our  first 
head  and  representative.  AVhatever  Christ  has  procured  for 
us,  he  has  procured  under  the  provisions  of  the  law  which 
conditioned  human  religion  in  Eden.  The  principles  of  the 
dispensation  then  and  there  enacted  have  not  been  changed; 
they  have  only  been  carried  out  and  fulfilled.  From  the 
nature  of  the  dispensation  under  which  the  second  Adam 
was  placed,  we  may  learn  that  which  pertained  to  the  first; 
and  the  result  of  the  comparison  will  be  the  confirmation  of 
every  doctrine  we  have  stated  in  relation  to  our  first  father's 
posture.     First,  Christ  was  a  public  person ;  so  was  Adam. 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  289 

Each  represented  his  seed.  Secondly,  Christ's  probation  was 
limited ;  it  was  confined  to  the  period  of  his  humiliation. 
Adam's,  to  preserve  the  analogy,  must  have  been  limited 
also.  Thirdly,  Christ  had  the  promise  of  justification  to 
life  as  the  reward  of  his  temporary  obedience ;  the  same 
must  have  been  the  case  with  Adam.  Hence,  through  the 
work  of  Christ,  and  the  relations  of  that  work  to  the  law, 
we  are  explicitly  taught  that  eternal  life  was,  and  must  have 
been,  the  promise  of  the  Covenant  of  Works. 

4.  As  the  promise  through  Christ  is  essentially  the  same 

as  the  promise  to  Adam,  we  are  prepared,  in  the  next  place, 

to  consider  what  the  life  is  that  was  promised.     The  term  in 

Scripture  not  only  indicates  existence,  but 

The    life    promised  i.i  i.         i}         ^^   ^     '  'j_  '  •   j. 

was  eternal.  ^Iso  the  property  of  well-bemg ;  it  is  exist- 

ence in  a  state  of  happiness.  Eternal  life 
is  the  same  as  eternal  well-being  or  happiness.  As  long  as 
man's  happiness  was  contingent,  he  was  not  in  a  state  of 
life,  in  that  high  and  emphatic  sense  which  redemption  se- 
cures.  Innocence  is  the  condition  of  life,  but  it  is  not  life 
itself.  There  are  two  things  which  belong  to  life.  First, 
It  implies  a  change  of  inward  state  or  character.  Secondly, 
A  change  of  outward  state  or  relation.  In  relation  to  Adam, 
the  inward  change  would  have  consisted  in  removing  the 
mutability  of  his  will.  If  he  had  kept  the  law,  he  would 
have  been  rendered  indefectible  in  holiness  by  an  influence 
of  Divine  grace  moulding  his  habits  so  completely  into  his 
will  that  he  never  could  have  departed  from  the  good 
pleasure  of  God,  He  would  have  attained,  by  the  blessing 
of  God,  in  the  way  of  reward  to  his  obedience,  that  moral 
necessity  which  is  the  noblest  freedom  and  which  constitutes 
the  highest  perfection  of  a  rational  creature.  His  security 
would  not  have  been  the  result  of  habit.  No  course  of  obe- 
dience, however  protracted  and  however  it  might  be  con- 
stantly diminishing  the  danger  of  transgression,  would  ever 
have  rendered  man  invulnerable  to  sin.  The  mortal  point, 
like  the  heel  of  Achilles,  would  always  be  found  in  muta- 
bility of  will.     A  probationary  state  necessarily  implies  the 

Vol.  I.— 19 

290  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lpxt.  XIT, 

possibility  of  defection  anJ  the  relations  of  the  will  to  the 
law  in  such  a  state  are  essentially  different  from  its  relations 
in  a  state  of  justification.  This  great  benefit,  therefore,  a 
will  immutably  determined  to  the  good,  would  have  charac- 
terized the  life  of  the  first  man  if  he  had  been  faithful  to  his 

The  second  element  is  a  change  of  relation.  He  would 
have  been  adopted  as  a  son,  and  no  longer  under  the  law  as 
a  servant.  Whatever  of  joy,  privilege,  blessedness  and  glory 
are  implied  in  this  relation  was  held  out  to  Adam  as  a  mo- 
tive to  fidelity.  Confirmed  in  holiness ;  admitted  into  the 
closest  communion  with  God  ;  treated  as  a  child ;  honoured 
as  an  heir ;  what  more  could  God  have  done  for  him  ?  This 
was  life,  eternal  life ;  and  this  life  in  both  its  elements  would 
have  accrued  from  his  justification.  Temporary  obedience, 
being  accepted  as  perpetual  innocence,  would  have  secured 
perpetual  innocence ;  and  probation  being  closed  by  a  full 
compliance  with  the  conditions — which  is  justification — would 
have  rendered  man  a  fit  subject  for  receiving,  as  he  was  able 
to  bear  it,  from  the  infinite  fullness  of  God.  To  sum  up  all 
in  a  single  word,  the  promise  to  Adam  was  eternal  life ;  and 
eternal  life  includes  the  notions  of  indefectible  holiness  and 
of  adoption,  w'hicli  are  inseparably  linked  together. 

From  this  exposition  of  the  promise  we  need   have  no 

difficulty  as  to  what  the  Scriptures  teach  in  relation  to  the 

tree  of  life.     It  is  very  idle  to  suppose  that  it  received  its 

title  from  any  property  that  it  had  to  perpetuate  existence 

or  to  prevent  the  incursion  of  disease.     It 

The  tree  of  life -was  a  i  i      i  •    i        r*   ii 

seal  of  ti.e  promise.  was  merely  a  symbol  or  memorial  of  the 
promise — a  token  to  man,  constantly  re- 
minding him  through  his  senses  of  what  great  things  God 
had  prepared  for  him.  It  is  perhaps  because  this  tree  was 
the  exponent  of  the  promise  that  Moses  has  not  expressly 
recorded  it.  Some  have  inferred  from  the  precautions  taken 
to  prevent  man  from  eating  of  its  fruit  after  his  defection 
that  it  had  some  innate  virtue  to  stay  the  tide  of  death. 
"We  should  rather  infer  that  these  precautions  were  solemn 

Lect.  XIL]  the  covenant  of  works.  291 

signs  that  he  had  forfeited  all  right  to  the  blessing  it  sym- 
bolized. He  was  not  allowed  to  approach  the  tree  because 
he  had  lost  that  from  which  the  tree  derived  its  significancy 
and  importance.  To  have  allowed  him  to  touch  the  sign 
might  have  been  construed  into  the  assumption  that  he 
might  yet  compass  the  reality.  In  conformity  with  this  ex- 
planation are  all  the  subsequent  allusions  in  the  sacred  vol- 
ume. "  To  him  that  overcometh  will  I  give  to  eat  of  the 
tree  of  life  which  is  in  the  midst  of  the  paradise  of  God."^ 
"  Blessed  are  they  that  do  his  commandments,  that  they  may 
have  a  right  to  the  tree  of  life."  ^  The  tree  of  life  is  here 
evidently  a  figure  of  eternal  glory. 

I  cannot  close  this  consideration  of  the  promise  of  the 
Covenant  without  calling  your  attention  to  the  ingenious 

and  paradoxical  theory  which  Warburton 
critidled"^  °"  ^  ^"^^'^     ^^^^  P^^^  fortli  in  liis  Divine  Legation   of 

Moses.  He  admits  the  distinction  which 
I  have  elsewhere  drawn  between  man's  natural  state  under 
moral  government  and  the  supernatural  state  in  which  he 
was  placed  in  the  garden.  He  lays  down  the  essential  prin- 
ciples of  moral  government  with  sufficient  accuracy,  except 
that  he  represents  repentance  as  a  natural  atonement  for  our 
violations  of  the  moral  law.  But  he  errs  grievously  in  the 
low  estimate  which  he  puts  upon  the  character  and  qualifi- 
cations of  man  in  his  primitive  condition.  He  degrades  the 
image  of  God  to  the  mere  possession  of  the  attribute  of  rea- 
son, and  contends  that  immortality  is  no  part  of  our  native 
inheritance.  Man  was  when  he  came  from  the  hands  of 
God  a  subject  of  law,  and  rewardable  and  punishable  for  his 
actions ;  but  rewards  and  punishments  were  equally  tempo- 
rary. Nature  contained  no  hope  of  immortality.  The 
design  of  the  revealed  dispensation  was  to  give  man  the 
prospect  of  endless  existence,  to  exempt  him  from  the  pos- 
sibility of  death.  As  immortality  was  a  free  gift,  it  was  fit 
that  it  should  be  suspended  upon  an  arbitrary  condition. 
Man's  disobedience  only  remanded  him  to  his  original  con- 
1  Eev.  ii.  7.  ^  Kev.  xxii.  14. 

292  THE    COVENANT    OF    WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

dition  of  mortality.  He  had  forfeited  his  being.  He  was 
put  back  where  he  was  before,  under  a  pure  system  of  moral 
government.  Christ  restored  to  us  what  we  lost  in  Adam, 
mere  immortality.  His  sacrifice  was  an  arbitrary  appoint- 
ment by  which  God  was  pleased  to  communicate  the  gift  a 
second  time,  and  faith  in  Him  is  an  arbitrary  condition  on 
which  the  possession  is  suspended  to  us.  The  peculiarity 
of  this  theory  is,  that  the  supernatural  does  not  modify  the 
natural,  but  is  co-ordinate  with  it.  Moral  government  goes 
on  as  it  would  go  on  without  the  supernatural ;  the  super- 
natural is  only  an  expedient  by  which  the  subject  of  this 
government  is  rendered  immortal.  Of  course,  after  wliat 
has  already  been  said,  it  would  be  worse  than  idle  to  attempt 
an  articulate  refutation  of  a  scheme  which  only  excites  your 
wonder  that  a  man  of  genius  and  learning  should  have 
adopted  it,  elaborately  expounded  it  and  persuaded  himself, 
and  tried  to  persuade  his  readers,  that  he  had  found  the  key 
to  unlock  all  the  mysteries  of  Christianity.  Paradox  was 
the  bane  of  Warburton's  life.  But  he  occasionally  devel- 
ops principles  which  throw  light  upon  the  dispensations 
of  God.  Unfortunately,  he  develops  them  only  to  mis- 
apply them. 

III.  The  last  thing  to  be  considered  in  relation  to  the 

Covenant  of  Works  is  the  penalty  annexed 
obedieifco'!'^  ^  °    '^'     'to  disobedieucc.     That  is  contained  in  the 

threatening,  "  in  the  day  thou  eatest  thereof, 
thou  shalt  surely  die."  What  was  really  the  death  that  was 
denounced  has  been  a  question  variously  answered,  according 
to  the  views  entertained  by  different  expositors  of  the  artic- 
ulate doctrines  of  the  Gospel  with  respect  to  sin  and  redemp- 
tion. The  type  of  a  man's  theological  opinions  can  be  readily 
determined  by  the  estimate  which  he  puts  upon  the  judicial 
consequences  of  the  first  sin.     Warburton  makes  the  death 

of  the  covenant  to  be  nothing  more  than 

Warburton's  theory.  ■,...■, 

the  remanding  of  man  to  his  original  con- 
dition of  mortality.  He  was  created  subject  to  the  law  of 
dissolution.     His  existence  was  destined  under  the  appoint- 

Lect.  XII.]  THE    COVENANT    OF   WORKS.  293 

ment  of  nature  to  a  total  extinction.  The  covenant  proposed 
to  exalt  him  to  a  state  of  immortality.  Had  he  kept  the 
injunction  to  abstain  from  the  forbidden  fruit,  he  would 
have  been  endowed  with  the  prerogative  of  an  endless  exist- 
ence. His  failure  only  placed  him  where  he  was  before. 
There  was  properly  neither  fall  nor  apostasy;  there  was 
simply  the  missing  of  a  proffered  boon.  Others,  again, 
anxious  to  evade  the  proof  of  original  sin 
derived  from  the  sufferings  and  death  of 
infants,  exclude  the  dissolution  of  the  body  and  temporal 
diseases  from  the  death  of  the  covenant.  These  they  make 
the  original  appointments  of  nature,  and  not  the  penal  visit- 
ations of  transgression.  They  suppose  that  men  would  have 
suffered  and  died  whether  they  had  sinned  or  not.  Others, 
again,  anxious  to  mitigate  the  malio-nitv  of 

still  anotber.  .  i  ^  •   i       i         n  •  n    ^ 

Sin,  and  to  do  away  with  the  doctrine  of  the 
endless  punishment  of  the  wicked,  have  resolved  the  whole 
punishment  of  man  into  the  death  of  the  body  and  the  evils 
which  precede  and  accompany  it.  In  all  these  cases  it  is 
clear  that  theologio  prejudice  is  the  real  father  of  the  different 
theories  advanced,  and  that  none  of  them  are  drawn  from  a 
candid  and  disjiassionate  comparison  of  the  teachings  of  the 
word  of  God.  Men  have  put  their  opinions  into  the  Bible, 
and  have  not  extracted  their  doctrines  from  it ;  they  have 
made  rather  than  interpreted  Scripture.  The  truth  upon 
this  subject  cannot  be  reached  by  the  dissection  of  words  and 
phrases.  Scripture  must  be  compared  with  Scripture,  and 
the  whole  tenor  of  revelation  in  relation  to  sin  and  redemp- 
tion must  be  caipfully  studied,  in  order  that  any  just  concep- 
tion may  be  formed  of  the  real  significancy  of  that  portentous 
word,  death.     The  result  of  such  an  examination  will  be, 

that  it  is  a  generic  term  expressing  the  idea 

The  true  view  of  the  n         •  -ji         j_  ^    j^        -^       /• 

p^.jjj^uy  of  misery,  without  respect  to  its  form  or 

kind,  judicially  inflicted.  Any  and  every 
pain,  considered  as  a  penal  visitation,  is  death.  As  life  is 
not  simply  existence,  but  well-being,  so  death,  its  opposite, 
is  not  the  nesration  of  existence,  but  the  negation  of  all  the 

294  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

pleasure  of  existence.  As  to  live,  in  Scripture  phrase,  is  to 
be  happy,  so  to  die  is  to  be  miserable.  But  is  all  misery  or  all 
pain  penal  in  its  origin  ?  If  so,  the  question  as  to  the  ex- 
tent of  the  penalty  can  be  easily  settled.  Now,  I  maintain 
that  under  a  just  and  righteous  government  there  can  be  no 
suffering  without  guilt.  The  innocent  are  entitled  to  the 
Divine  favour,  and  to  the  bliss  which  results  from  it,  as  long 
as  they  maintain  their  integrity.  Those  who  most  strenu- 
ously deny  that  the  creature,  in  any  strict  and  proper  sense, 
can  merit,  yet  as  strenuously  maintain  that  it  is  inconsistent 
with  justice  to  visit  the  sinless  with  pain.  If  they  have  no 
right  to  a  reward  over  and  above  the  pleasure  of  existence 
in  the  state  in  which  they  were  created,  the  equity  of  God 
forbids  that  a  being  given  in  goodness  should  be  made  a 
burden.  The  form  in  which  the  notion  of  justice  is  first 
manifested  in  the  conscience  is  through  the  conviction  of 
good  and  ill  desert,  connecting  well-being  with  well-doing, 
and  misery  with  guilt.  A  discipline  of  virtue  through  evil 
suj)poses  a  dispensation  of  grace  in  consequence  of  which  sin 
has  been  pardoned,  and  offences  come  to  be  considered  as 
faults  to  be  corrected,  and  not  as  crimes  to  be  punished ;  it 
supposes  at  the  same  time  the  presence  of  evil  as  of  a  thing 
to  be  removed  and  abolished.  Moral  discipline,  in  this  as- 
pect, is  possible  only  to  pardoned  sinners.  But  a  discipline 
through  evil  where  no  sin  has  entered,  a  discipline  through 
suffering  where  there  has  been  no  crime  to  be  corrected,  is 
contradictory  to  every  just  notion  of  righteous  retribution. 
Hence,  we  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  that  all  misery,  all 
pain,  all  suffering,  all  that  interferes  with  the  comfort  and 
satisfaction  of  existence,  all  that  is  contradictory  to  well- 
being,  is  penal  in  its  origin.  Not  a  pang  would  ever  have 
been  felt,  not  a  sigh  would  ever  have  been  heaved,  not  a 
groan  would  ever  have  been  uttered,  not  a  tear  would  ever 
have  been  shed,  if  sin  had  not  invaded  the  race.  All  phy- 
sical evil  is  penal ;  all  misery  is  penal ;  all 

It  includes  all  pain.  .       .  ^  .  .  .  , 

pain  IS  death.     Hence,  to  niquire  into  the 
extent  of  the  penalty  is  simply  to  inquire  into  the  extent  of 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT   OF    WORKS.  295 

the  miseiy  to  which  man  has  rendered  himself  subject  by 
his  apostasy  from  God.  As  lie  would  have  been  free  from 
all  evil  by  the  preservation  of  his  integrity,  so  every  calamity 
that  he  experiences  must  be  referred,  for  its  ultimate  ground, 
to  the  guilt  of  the  first  sin.  The  condition  in  which  he  now 
finds  himself  is  the  condition  to  which  his  sin  reduced  him, 
and  in  this  condition  we  read  the  true  interjiretation  of  the 
threat,  "  In  the  day  thou  eatest  thereof,  thou  shalt  surely 
die."  What  man  became  that  day,  or  the  change  which 
took  place  in  his  state  and  prospects,  is  the  death  that  was 

1.  There  was  a  change  in  the  habits  and  dispositions  of 
his  soul.     He  lost  the  image  of  God.     His 

Death  spiritual. 

nature  took  the  type  of  the  evil  that  he 
chose.  His  character  became  permanently  and  hoj^elessly 
corrupt.  The  very  point  to  be  settled  by  his  probation  was 
the  fixed  impression  of  his  moral  character.  To  choose  the 
good  was  to  become  immutably  holy  and  happy ;  to  choose 
the  evil  was  to  become  hopelessly  corrupt  and  miserable. 
The  bondage  of  sin  was  the  necessary  consequence  of  the 
choice  of  sin.  He  at  once  lost  all  power  to  will  or  to  choose 
what  was  acceptable  to  God.  This  loss  of  the  image  of 
God,  or  of  the  principle  of  holiness,  is  commonly  styled 
spiritual  death,  as  being  the  death  of  the  soul  in  respect  to 
what  truly  constitutes  its  life.  It  has  been  made  a  question 
how  Adam  could  all  at  once  have  been  deprived  of  those 
spiritual  perceptions  and  concreated  propensities  to  good 
which  he  inherited  as  the  birth-right  of  his  being.  It  has 
been  asked  how  a  single  sin  could  all  at  once  have  depraved 
the  entire  constitution  and  perverted  the  whole  current  of 
his  nature.  If  we  were  left  to  conjecture  and  speculation, 
we  might  suppose  that  as  a  habit  is  not  likely  to  be  formed 
from  a  single  act,  the  principle  of  rectitude  would  still  re- 
main, though  weakened  in  its  power,  and  by  vigorous  and 
systematic  efforts  might  recover  from  the  shock  which  to 
some  extent  had  disordered  the  moral  constitution.  Bishop 
Butler  speaks  with  hesitation  in  relation  to  the  degree  of 

296  THE   COVENANT   OP   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

injury  wlilcli  might  be  expected  to  accrue  from  the  first  full 
overt  act  of  irregularity,  though  he  has  no  backwai'dness  iu 
regard  to  the  natural  results  of  a  confirmed  habit.  Each 
sin  has  not  only  a  tendency  to  propagate  itself,  but  to  de- 
range the  order  of  the  moral  constitution ;  but  as  the  propa- 
gation of  itself  in  the  formation  of  specific  habits  is  ob- 
viously gradual,  it  would  seem  that  the  general  derange- 
ment would  also  be  progressive.  The  difficulty  is  created 
by  overlooking  the  circumstance  of  a  judicial  condemnation, 
and  not  properly  discriminating  betwixt  holiness  and  moral- 
ity. We  are  to  bear  in  mind  that  as  we  are  under  a  penal 
sanction  as  well  as  possessed  of  a  moral  constitution,  sin  has 
judicial  consequences  which  must  enter  into  the  estimate  of 
the  extent  of  injury  sustained  by  the  inner  man.  We  must 
further  recollect  that  as  holiness,  which  is  the  foundation  of 
the  virtuous  principle,  the  life  of  all  merely  moral  habits, 
the  keystone  of  the  arch  which  maintains  an  upright  na- 
ture in  its  integrity,  consists  essentially  in  union  with  God, 
whatever  offends  Him  must  destroy  it.  This  is  precisely 
what  every  sin  does ;  it  provokes  His  curse,  breaks  the  har- 
mony of  the  soul  with  Him,  and  removes  that  which  is  the 
fundamental  principle  of  all  true  excellence.  His  moral 
habits  may  remain  as  tendencies  to  so  many  specific  forms 
of  action  materially  right,  but  the  respect  to  God  has  gone. 
Spiritual  life  breathes  only  in  the  smile  of  God ;  the  mo- 
ment that  He  frowns  in  anger  death  invades  the  soul.  It 
is  the  judicial  consequence  of  sin,  and  hence  every  sin,  like 
a  puncture  of  the  heart,  is  fatal  to  spiritual  life.  Hence, 
the  universal  dominion  of  sin  is  a  part  of  the  curse — its 
reign  is  hopeless  in  so  far  as  human  strength  is  concerned. 
One  sin  entails  the  everlasting  necessity  of  sin.  The  law, 
as  we  have  seen,  knows  no  repentance. 

2.  Besides  spiritual  death,  the  penalty  of  the  law  includes 
all  those  afflictions  and  sufferings  of  the 

Dentil  temporal.  i  •  /.         i  .    i  .  . 

present  life  which  terminate  in  the  disso- 
lution of  the  body.  The  fatigue  and  pain  connected  wdth 
labour  or  the  fulfilment  of  any  of  our  natural  functions ; 

Lect.  XII.]  THE   COVENANT    OF    WORKS.  297 

the  diseases  to  which  we  are  constantly  exposed ;  the  wear 
and  tear  of  our  physical  frame ;  the  decrepitude  of  age ;  the 
vexations  and  disappointments  of  life ;  the  final  separation 
of  the  soul  from  the  body,  and  the  resolution  of  the  body 
into  its  original  dust, — all  these  constitute  what  divines  are 
accustomed  to  denominate  temporal  death.  To  this  must  be 
added  the  disorder  which  has  taken  place  in  external  nature ; 
the  change  in  the  temper  and  disposition  of  beasts;  the 
sterility  of  the  earth ;  its  poisons ;  the  deadly  exhalations  of 
the  atmosphere, — all  things  which  render  the  earth  disagree- 
able and  trying  as  the  abode  of  man  are  obviously  included 
in  the  curse. 

3.  Then  there  is  a  state  of  suffering,  after  the  close  of  the 
present  life,  in  which  first   the   soul,  and 

Dentil  eternal 

afterward  both  soul  and  body  united,  are 
the  subjects  of  visitations  in  which  God  expresses  the  in- 
tensity of  His  hatred  against  sin.  This  last  stage  of  pun- 
ishment is  called,  pre-eminently-,  the  second  death.  The 
Scriptures  represent  it  by  figures  which  impress  us  with  an 
aAvful  idea  of  its  horrors.  It  is  a  worm  that  never  dies — a 
lake  that  burns  with  fire  and  brimstone.  "What  the  suffer- 
ings of  the  lost  actually  are  we  are  unable  to  conceive ;  but 
we  know  them  to  be  terrific,  because  they  are  designed  to 
express  the  infinite  opposition  of  God  to  sin,  and  because 
they  produced  the  unspeakable  tragedy  of  Calvary.  To 
which  must  be  added  that  they  are  as  endless  as  the  exist- 
ence of  the  soul.  This  death  is  called  eternal  death.  "When, 
therefore,  we  speak  of  the  penalty  of  the  Covenant,  we  must 
be  understood  to  include  the  bondage  to  sin,  the  subjection 
of  man  to  all  the  evils  of  this  life,  and  to  the  still  greater 
evils  of  the  life  to  come — the  whole  of  the  misery  which  the 
fall  has  brought  upon  the  race.  When  it  is  said  that  these 
evils  are  the  penalty  of  the  Covenant,  it  is  not  meant  that 
they  all  xesult  directly  from  it,  or  that  they  were  all  visited 
upon  the  person  of  the  first  transgressor.  Adam  did  not 
suffer  every  species  of  pain  and  calamity  to  which  any  of  his 
descendants  have  been  exposed.     But  the  meaning  is,  that 

298  THE   COVENANT   OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XII. 

the  first  sin  prepared  the  way  for  them  all ;  it  introduced  a 
state  of  sin  from  which  has  resulted  a  general  state  of  death. 
All  the  ills  that  flesh  is  heir  to  are  either  the  immediate  or 
remote  consequences  of  the  first  transgression.  The  threat- 
ening of  death  had  reference  to  that  whole  fallen  and  miser- 
able condition  into  which  the  race  would  be  plunged  by  dis- 

IV.  We  have  now  seen  the  nature  of  the  dispensation 
under  which  man  was  placed  in  the  garden  of  Eden.  We 
have  considered  the  Condition,  the  Promise  and  the  Penalty, 
and  have  been  struck  with  the  goodness  of  God  in  His  gra- 
cious purpose  to  exalt  the  creature  to  a  higher  state,  and  to 
make  him  an  inheritor  of  richer  blessings,  than  his  natural 
relations  would  authorize  him  to  expect.  He  had  an  easy 
work  and  a  great  reward.     It  remains  to 

Mau's  conduct.  .-,-,.  -•  -■  i.  iii 

consider  his  conduct  under  this  remarkable 
display  of  Divine  benevolence.  How  long  he  stood  we  have 
no  means  of  conjecturing — not  long  enough  to  be  the  father 
of  a  son.  The  circumstances  connected  with  his  fall  are 
briefly  narrated  by  the  historian,  and  the  account  which  we 
have  may  be  called.  The  natural  history  of  sin  in  relation  to 
our  race. 

1.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  evident  that  the  record  contains 

a  true  history  of  facts  as  they  occurred,  and 
Jyl/fZ' '' ' "'"     not  an  allegory  setting  forth  the  conflict  of 

the  higher  and  lower  principles  of  our  na- 
ture— of  reason  and  sense ;  nor  yet  an  apologue,  illustrating 
the  change  from  primitive  simplicity  to  refinement,  luxury 
and  corruption.  The  tree  of  tlie  knowledge  of  good  and 
evil  was  adapted  to  the  trial  of  man's  integrity,  and  is  pre- 
cisely the  kind  of  test  which  the  nature  of  the  case  demanded. 
The  tree  of  life  was  a  fit  symbol  of  the  promise  by  which 
man  was  encouraged  to  obedience,  and  the  threatening  must 
surely  be  taken  in  its  literal  sense.  The  narrative,  more- 
over, contains  decisive  evidence  that  sin  did  not  originate 
from  any  collision  between  appetite  and  reason  ;  it  originated 

Lect.  xil]  the  covenant  of  works.  299 

as  inucli  in  the  higher  principles  themselves  as  in  the  lower. 
Our  first  mother  Avas  prompted  by  the  desire  of  knowledge; 
she  saw  that  the  tree  was  suited  to  make  one  Avise,  as  well  as 
fair  to  the  eyes  and  attractive  to  the  taste. 

2.  In  the  next  place,  w^e  must  recognize,  in  the  serpent, 

the  presence  of  an  evil  spirit  who  under- 

An  evil  spirit  present.       ,       i       , ,  ^o  r  ±  i.  o  • 

took  the  oince  ot  a  tempter,  oin  was 
already  in  the  universe.  That  he  who  is  described  by  the 
Saviour  as  a  Liar  and  a  Murderer  from  the  beginning  was 
the  real  but  disguised  agent  in  the  transaction,  is  obvious 
from  repeated  allusions  to  the  subject  by  the  writers  of  the 
New  Testament.^  That  this  was  the  opinion  of  the  Jews 
before  the  time  of  Christ  is  apparent  from  the  Book  of  Wis- 
dom.^ The  promise,  too,  that  the  seed  of  the  woman  should 
bruise  the  serpent's  head,  has  evidently  a  much  higher  sig- 
nificaney  than  any  literal  application  to  the  serpent-tribe 
could  give  it.  An  ingenious  effort  to  explain  the  malice  of 
the  Devil  has  been  given  by  Kurtz  in  his  Bible  and  xlstro- 

3.  The  sin  of  man  was  deliberate.     He  had  the  case  be- 

fore him.     It  was  not  an  instance  of  sud- 

The  sin  was  deliber-        -\  •    n         •.  nr\\  ^  • 

^jg  den  infirmity.      ilie  case  was  argued  out, 

and  judgment  rendered  upon  the  argument. 

4.  It  involved  a  deliberate  rejection  of  God  as  the  good 

of  the  soul — a  deliberate  rejection  of  the 

It  was  the  rejection  i  o     /~i     i  j  i  t         f  '    i 

pfQQ(j  glory   ot    (jrod   as   tlie   end    ot    existence. 

Hence,  it  was  unbelief,  apostasy,  pride. 

5.  It  was  a  most  aggravated  sin — aggravated  by  the  re- 

lations of  the  person  to  God  :  by  the  na- 

Aggravations  of  it.  n     i  i        • 

ture  01  the  act ;  by  its  consequences. 
V.  The  relations  of  man  to  the  covenant  since  the  fall. 
1.  He  is  condemned. 

Fallen    man's    rela-       rs     tx     i  p      /•  -i      n    j1  • 

tions  to  the  covenant.      2.  He  has  forfeited  the  promise. 

3.  Individually  under  the  general  princi- 
ples of  moral  government. 

1  See  John  viii.  44 ;  1  John  iii.  8  ;  Rev.  xii.  9. 

2  Chap.  i.  13,  14 ;  ii.  23,  24. 

300  THE   COVENANT  OF   WORKS.  [Lect.  XIL 


[There  are  three  points  to  be  considered — 

I.  What  was  the  formal  nature  of  the  sin  ? 
II.  How  it  was  possible  that  a  holy  being  could  sin. 
III.  The  consequences  of  this  sin. 

I.  "What  was  the  formal  nature  of  the  sin  ? — that  is,  what  was  the  root 
of  it?     Was  it  pride?     W\as  it  unbelief ? 

1.  It  was  a  complicated  sin  ;  it  included  in  it  the  spirit  of  disobedience 
to  the  whole  law. 

2.  It  was  aggravated — (1)  by  the  person;  (2)  by  his  relations  to  God; 
(3)  by  the  nature  of  the  act ;  (4)  by  its  consequences. 

3.  The  germ  of  it  was  estrangement  from  God,  which  is  radically  un- 
belief. It  was  an  apostasy,  which  in  falling  away  from  God  set  up  the 
creature  as  the  good. 

II.  How  could  a  holy  being  sin  ? 

1.  W^e  must  not  lower  the  account  so  as  to  remove  difficulties.  Many 
make  it  the  growth  of  an  infant  to  maturity,  having  its  powers  quick- 
ened by  errors  and  mistakes. 

2.  Others  make  it  allegorical,  representing  the  conflict  of  sense  and 
reason.  This  is  contradicted  by  the  narrative.  Intellect  is  prominent  in 
the  cause  of  sin.     Eve  desired  wisdom. 

3.  Others  make  it  an  apologue  intended  to  illustrate  the  change  from 
primitive  simplicity. 

4.  Others,  as  Knapp,  make  the  thing  venial,  but  degrade  the  meaning 
to  physical  phenomena. 

5.  W^e  must  regard  it  as  the  natural  history  of  sin — the  manner  in 
which  it  was  introduced  into  our  world. 

6.  It  is  not  enough  to  say  that  man  was  mutable ;  that  explains  the  pos- 
sibility, but  not  the  immediate  cause  of  sin. 

(1.)  It  was  owing  to  temptation.    Here  explain  the  nature  of  temptation. 

(2.)  Desires  might  be  excited,  in  themselves  innocent,  accidentally 

(3.)  The  general  principle  of  virtue — Watch.  Here  was  the  first  slip. 
Desires  produced  inattention  to  the  circumstances  under  which  they 
might  be  indulged ;  here  was  a  renunciation  of  the  supreme  authority 
of  God.     Want  of  thought,  want  of  reflection. 

(4.)  These  desires,  by  dwelling  upon  the  objects,  engross  the  mind  and 
become  inflamed.  They  become  the  good  of  the  soul.  Here  was  the 
renunciation  of  God  as  the  good.  They  prevail  upon  the  will  and  the 
act  is  consummated. 

III.  Consequences — immediate  and  remote. 

1.  Shame  and  remorse. 

2.  Loss  of  the  image  of  God.  This  a  penal  visitation.  Not  the  mere 
force  of  habit.] 



IF,  as  we  have  previously  seen,  Adam  in  the  Covenant  of 
Works  was  the  representative  of  all  his  natural  pos- 
terity— that  is,  of  all  contemplated  in  the  original  idea  of 
the  race,  and  descended  from  him  by  the  ordinary  law  of 
propagation — then  the  condemnation  in  which  he  was  in- 
volved pertains  equally  to  them,  and  the  subjective  condi- 
tion of  depravity  to  which  he  was  reduced  by  his  transgres- 
The  phrase  ori^r«aj     ^iou  must  also  bc  fouud  in  them.     They 
Sin  as  used  in  its  wide     must  bc  at  oucc  guilty  and  corrupt.     This 
state  of  guilt  and  corruption,  as  that  in 
which  they  begin  their  individual  personal  existence,  is  by 
one  class  of  divines  called   Original  Sin.     The  phrase  in- 
cludes both  the  imputation  of  the  guilt  of  Adam's  first  sin, 
and  the  inherent  depravity  which  is  consequent  ifpon  it. 
In  this  wide  sense  it  is  probably  used  by  the  Westminster 
Assembly  of  divines.      The   guilt  is   the 

Westminster    Assem-       iif>  •  ii'j_j^ij_ 

biy  of  divines;  Doud  ot   uuiou    Dctwixt  the  trausgrcssion 

of  Adam  and  the  moral  condition  in  which 
they  are  born.  Others  restrict  the  terms  original  sin  exclu- 
sively to  the  corruption  in  which  men  are  born,  though  in 

calling  it  sin  they  presuppose  that  it  has 
sMso '"  '*^  ""'"^"'^     been  created  by  guilt.     They  represent  it 

as  a  penal  condition,  but  the  j)rominent 
idea  is  the  moral  features  of  the  condition  itself,  and  not 

the  cause  by  which  it  has  been  produced. 

by  Calvin  and  others.  .  .  .... 

There  is  consequently  some  ambiguity  m 
the   phrase.     The  more  common  usage   is    unquestionably 


302  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

that   of  Calvin,  Turrettin   and   nearly    all    the    Reformed 
Confessions  in  which  original  sin  and  native  depravity  are 

synonymous  terms.  The  word  was  intro- 
tnftrtt^rr     duced  by  Augustin  in  his  controversy  with 

the  Pelagians.  He  wanted  a  term  by 
which  he  could  at  once  represent  the  moral  state,  which  is 
antecedent  to  all  voluntary  exercises  of  the  individual,  which 
conditions  their  character  and  determines  the  whole  type  of 
the  spiritual  life — that  state  of  sin  or  pravity  in  which  each 
descendant  of  Adam  begins  his  personal  history.  He  called 
this  state  of  native  sin,  original  sin ;  first,  because  our  per- 
sonal, individual  existence  begins  in  it.  The  species  was 
created  holy  in  Adam,  but  since  Adam  every  individual  of 
the  species  commences  his  temporal  being  in  a  state  of  cor- 
ruption. Our  origin  is  in  sin.  In  the  next  place,  he  called 
it  original  to  indicate  its  close  and  intimate  connection  with 
the  first  sin  of  the  first  man.  Adam's  transgression,  as  the 
beginning  and  cause  of  all  subsequent  human  aberrations, 
was  pre-eminently  original  sin — the  original  sin — and  to 
indicate  its  causal  relation  to  all  other  sins  it  was  called 
peccatum  originale  originans.  The  depravity  of  nature 
which  resulted  from  it  was  called  peccatum  originale  origina- 
tum,  and  when  the  phrase  original  sin,  without  a  qualifying 
epithet)  is  used,  it  indicates  the  originated  sin,  and  in  the 
word  original  points  back  to  the  first  sin.  In  the  third 
place,  he  used  the  phrase  to  indicate  that  our  inborn  cor- 
ruption was  the  origin  or  source  of  all  our  actual  sins ;  it 
stood  at  the  head  of  all  the  transgressions  of  our  subse- 
quent life. 

No  doubt,  the  most   prominent   idea  suggested  by  the 

phrase  is,  that  as  Adam's  transgression  stands  at  the  head 

of  all  human  sins,  begins  and  conditions  the  series,  so  the 

In  this  lecture  em-     native  depravity  of  each  individual  stands 

ployed  in  the  nar-     ^t,  the  licad  of  all  liis  aberrations  and  de- 
rower  sense,  but  the  .  .  ,  ,^  -i  •  i     i 

notion  of  guilt  not  ex-     temiines  the  manilestations  oi  his  whole 
'''"'''"^"  moral  life.     Adam's  sin  is  absolutely  origi- 

nal  to   the  species;    native   depravity   relatively   original 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  303 

to  each  individual  of  the  species.  In  the  sense,  then,  of 
that  inherent  corruption  in  which  the  descendants  of  Adam 
begin  their  earthly  career,  I  shall  employ  the  term  in  the 
present  lecture.  Still,  the  notion  must  not  be  lost  sight  of 
that  this  inherent  corruption  could  not  be  strictly  and  prop- 
erly sin,  unless  it  were  grounded  in  guilt.  If  the  species 
had  begun  to  be  in  the  state  in  which  each  individual  is 
now  born,  no  blame  could  have  been  attached  to  its  irregu- 
larities and  deformity.  If  the  idea  of  man  as  it  lay  in  the 
Divine  mind  had  included  the  nature  which  we  now  find 
cleaving  to  our  being,  that  nature  could  not  have  been 
chargeable  with  aught  that  deserved  censure.  Hence,  the 
notion  of  guilt  underlies  all  the  moral  disapprobation  which 
w^e  attach  to  our  present  natural  condition.  It  is  a  penal 
state — one  into  w^iich  we  have  fallen,  and  not  one  in  which 
we  were  made.  The  moral  history  of  the  individual  does 
not  begin  with  his  own  personal  manifestation  in  time ;  that 
manifestation  has  evidently  been  determined  by  moral  rela- 
tions to  God  that  have  preceded  it.  Hence,  the  very  term 
sin  applied  to  our  present  state  carries  with  it  the  idea  of 
something  anterior ;  it  announces  it  as  an  originated  and  not 
The  question,  how  ^s  au  Original  condition.  How  there  can 
guilt  can  precede  ex-     bc  guilt  antecedently  to  the  existence  of 

istence,  must  be  met;  i         •      i-     •  i        i  m  i   •    i  t 

the  individual — a  guilt,  too,  which  condi- 
tions and  fixes  the  very  type  of  that  existence — is  a  question 
that  must  be  answered,  or  it  is  impossible  to  vindicate  origi- 
nal sin  in  any  other  sense  than  that  of  misfortune  or  calam- 
ity. If  it  is  not  grounded  in  the  ill  deserts  of  the  creature, 
but  in  the  sovereign  will  and  purpose  of  God,  it  loses  all 
moral  significancy,  and  is  reduced  to  the  aesthetic  category 
of  beauty  and  deformity,  or  the  category  of  mere  jihysical 
contrasts.  The  question  of  guilt,  therefore,  must  meet  us 
in  the  discussion  of  original  sin.     But  as  we  shall  be  better 

able  to  encounter  it  when  we  shall  have 

but  it  is  romitted  for  •  t  i  •     i  j.  i  j  • 

the  present.  considercd  our  inherent  and  native  corrup- 

tion, we  remit  the  investigation  of  it  to 
the  close  of  our  present  inquiry.      It  will  come  in  as  the 

304  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

exjilanation  of  the  state  in  which  we  actually  find  our- 
selves to  be. 

I.  Let  us,  then,  take  up  the  question  of  native  depravity. 

Original  sin,  as  the     What  is  the  statc  in  which  every  man  is 

doctrine  was  taught     boHi  ?     It  is   amaziug  witli  what   perfect 

by  all  the  Reformers.  ,  „  .  ni  a      r^        o       •  ii 

uniiormity  all  the  early  Coniessions,  whether 
Lutheran  or  Reformed,  represented  the  teachings  of  the 
word  of  God  upon  this  subject.  There  is  not  a  discordant 

1.  In  the  first  jjlace,  they  unanimously  represented  this 

corruption  as  the  very  mould  of  the  moral 

Sin  was  the  mould       i.  n  'T'lii^il 

of  man's  moral  being,  ^euig  of  cvery  mdividual  of  the  species. 
It  was  prior  to  all  voluntary  agency;  it 
was  prior  to  any  and  every  manifestation  of  consciousness. 
While  Pelao;ians  tauo;ht  that  the  individual  was  created 
without  any  moral  character  at  all,  and  that  the  habits  which 
he  exhibited  were  the  results  of  his  own  voluntary  acts,  the 
Reformers,  following  in  the  footstej)S  of  Paul  and  Augustin, 
strenuously  maintained  that  there  was  a  generic  and  all- 
comprehensive  disposition  which  lay  behind  the  will  in  all 
the  manifestations  of  individual  life,  and  determined  the  di- 
rection which  it  would  always  take  in  the  great  contrasts  of 
holiness  and  sin.  There  was  a  general  habitude  which  lay 
at  the  root  of  the  will  and  of  our  whole  spiritual  being,  and 
which  determined  the  general  type  which  every  act  of  choice 
must  bear.  This  corruption  they  represented  as  a  nature  in 
the  sense  of  an  all-conditioning  law — a  sense  which  I  have 
already  explained  in  unfolding  the  scriptural  idea  of  holi- 
ness. So  strong  was  the  language  of  Luther  upon  this  point 
that  he  has  trodden  closely  upon  the  verge  of  Manichsean 
forms  of  expression.  He  speaks  of  sin  as  pertaining  to  the 
very  substance,  the  very  being,  of  the  soul.  He  speaks  of 
it  not  merely  as  de  natura,  but  as  de  essentia  hominis,  and 
calls  it  peccaium  substantiate  or  essentiale.  His  design,  in 
these  strong  expressions,  is  to  point  out  the  intimate  connec- 
tion in  which  sin  stands  to  the  very  being  of  the  individual. 
It  is  not  something  Avhich  he  has  acquired — something  which 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  305 

has  invaded  him  in  the  development  of  his  earthly  life.  It 
is  interwoven  in  the  very  texture  of  his  soul — began  with 
the  beginning  of  his  faculties,  and  inseparably  cleaves  to  them 
in  all  their  exercises.  Sin  is  the  law  of  his  temporal  exist- 
ence. It  is  his  nature  in  the  same  sense  in  which  ferocity 
is  the  nature  of  the  tiger,  cunning  the  nature  of  the  serpent, 
and  coarseness  the  nature  of  the  swine.  It  was  an  original 
principle  of  motion  within  him,  and  not  an  accidental  im- 
pulse. When  man  sins,  he  expresses  his  inmost  moral  being. 
He  is  so  bound  up  in  sin,  the  fibres  of  his  soul  are  so  inter- 
tAvined  with  it,  the  springs  of  all  his  energies  are  so  poisoned 
by  it,  that  he  could  as  soon  cease  to  be  a  man,  by  any  power 
in  him,  as  cease  to  be  a  sinner.  He  lives  and  moves  and 
thinks  and  feels  in  sin.  It  was  precisely  in  this  sense  of  an 
all-conditioning  law  of  the  moral  life  that  sin  was  represented 
as  the  natural  state  of  fallen  man,  and  this  representation 
contained  a  protest  against  every  form  of  error  which  sought 
to  explain  the  irregularities  of  the  individual  by  causes  that 
have  sprung  up  since  the  commencement  of  his  individual 
existence.  Sin  and  that  existence  were  synchronous.  Sin 
was  the  mould,  so  to  speak,  in  which  the  faculties  of  the  soul 
were  run.  The  man  and  the  sinner  were  twins  from  the 
womb,  or  rather  were  one. 

2.  In  the  next  place,  this  natural  depravity  was  repre- 
it  was  negative-     rented  in  a  twofold  point  of  view,  negative 
destitution  of  every    ^ud  positivc.     lu  a  negative  aspect,  it  im- 
plied the  total  destitution  of  all  those  habits 
and  dis^^ositions  which  constituted  the  glory  of  the  first  man. 
and  enabled  him  to  reflect  the  image  of  God.     Every  prin- 
ciple of  holiness  was  lost.     As  a  nature,  it  is  an  all-pervading 
habit,  and  exists  as  an  unit  or  does  not  exist  at  all.     It  must 
be  wholly  lost  or  wholly  retained.     As  a  life,  it  either  is  or 
is  not.     There  is  no  intermediate  condition ;  a  man  is  either 
in  life  or  death.     This  total  destitution  of  holiness  or  spirit- 
ual  life  was  called  a  state  of  spiritual  death  ;  and  the  Re- 
formers, without  a  single  exception,  in  the  first  stages  of  the 
Reformation,  exhibited  the  imbecility  of  man  in  his  natural 
Vol.  I.— 20 

30G  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIIT. 

state  in  relation  to  anglit  that  was  holy  and  divine,  as  abso- 
lute and  complete.  There  is  no  doctrine  which  they  have 
more  strongly  asserted  or  more  vigorously  maintained  than 
the  hopeless  bondage  of  the  will.  However  Melancthon 
afterwards  modified  his  doctrine,  no  Reformer  ever  expressed 
the  inability  of  man  in  more  exclusive  and  uncompromising 
terms  than  himself,  in  the  earlier  editions  of  the  symbols 
prepared  by  his  hand. 

In  its  positive  aspect,  natural  depravity  included  a  posi- 
and  rositiv.-an  ac-  ^^^^c  corruptiou ;  tliat  is,  an  active  disposi- 
tive teiukncy  to  all  tiou  to  what  was  evil  and  inconsistent  with 
the  perfections  and  holiness  of  God.  It 
resulted  from  the  nature  of  man  as  an  active  being  that  if 
he  wei'c  deprived  of  the  principle  of  holiness,  he  must  mani- 
fest the  opposite.  His  actions  could  not  be  indifferent ; 
they  must,  as  springing  from  a  rational  and  accountable 
being,  liave  a  moral  character  of  some  sort,  and  if  holiness 
were  precluded,  nothing  but  sin  remained.  Hence,  there 
was  a  foundation  for  every  species  of  evil.  Tlic  determinate 
habits  in  different  individuals  might  be  very  different ;  some 
might  manifest  a  proclivity  to  one  form  of  sin,  and  others  to 
another.  One  might  give  himself  to  low  and  degrading 
lusts,  and  another  might  practice  a  more  refined  licentious- 
ness. Some  might  become  slaves  to  sense,  and  others  slaves 
to  the  subtler  sins  of  the  spirit.  Accident  and  education 
might  determine  the  definite  bias  ;  but  all,  without  excep- 
tion, would  plunge  into  sin,  would  contract  specific  habits  of 
iniquity,  and  if  left  to  themselves  would  steadily  wax  worse 
and  worse.  A  foundation  was  laid  in  every  human  heart 
for  every  form  of  evil.  The  poison  was  there,  though  it 
might  ha  repressed  by  circumstances.  All  the  currents  of 
the  human  soul  were  in  one  general  direction ;  they  were 
from  God  and  toward  sin.  There  was  not  only  nothing 
good,  but  there  was  the  germ  of  all  evil ;  the  tendency  was 
to  universal  and  complete  apostasy. 

The  negative  and  positive  aspects  of  original  sin  are  ob- 
viously only  different  sides  of  the  same  thing.     The  priva- 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  307 

tion  of  righteousness  is,  as  Calvin  lias  properly  remarked,  a 
general  aptitude  for  sin.     The  soul  cannot 

These  but  two  sides  •   j_     •  i  j  •  i    i  'j_  j. 

of  one  thing.  cxist  lu  a  merely  negative  state ;  it  must 

affirm  something,  and  where  it  is  precluded 
from  affirming  God,  it  must  affirm  something  that  is  not 
God.  Where  its  exercises  are  not  determined  by  holy  love, 
they  Avill  be  determined  by  a  love  that  is  not  holy. 

3.  In  the  next  place,  natural  depravity  was  represented  as 
universal  and  all-pervading.     It  extended 

It  was  universal  and        -.i  ii  4ni'  i 

all-pervading.  ^^  ^'^^  whojc  man.     All    his   powers   and 

faculties  of  soul  and  body  were  brought 
under  its  influence.  It  was  not  confined  to  one  department 
of  his  being — to  the  will,  as  contradistinguished  from  the 
understanding,  or  to  the  understanding,  as  contradistin- 
guished from  the  will ;  it  was  not  restricted  to  the  lower  ap- 
petites, as  contradistinguished  from  our  higher  principles  of 
action ;  nor  did  it  obtain  in  the  heart  alone,  considered  as 
the  seat  of  the  affi^ctions.  On  the  contrary,  it  was  a  disease 
from  which  every  organ  suffered.  As  found  in  the  under- 
standing, it  was  called  blindness  of  man,  spiritual  ignorance, 
folly ;  as  found  in  the  will,  it  was  called  rebellion,  perverse- 
ness,  the  spirit  of  disobedience ;  as  found  in  the  affections,  it 
manifested  itself  as  hardness  of  heart,  or  a  total  insensibility 
to  spiritual  and  Divine  attractions.  It  perverted  the  imagi- 
nation, and  turned  it  into  the  instrument  of  lust  and  the 
pander  to  low"  and  selfish  indulgences.  It  not  only  affected 
all  the  faculties,  so  as  to  produce  a  total  disqualification  for 
any  holy  or  spiritual  exercise  in  any  form,  whether  of  cog- 
nition or  of  choice,  but  it  crippled  and  enervated  these 
faculties  in  their  exercise  within  the  sphere  of  truth  and 
morality.  They  were  vitiated  in  relation  to  everything  that 
wore  the  image  of  truth,  goodness  and  beauty. 

Here  a  distinction  was  made.     The  fall  did   not  divest 
man  of  reason,  conscience  or  taste.     This 

A  distinction  made.  i  i       i  i  i   • 

would  have  been  to  convert  him  into 
another  species  of  being.  As  reason  remained,  he  still  had 
the  power  of  distinguishing  betwixt  truth  and   falsehood ; 

308  ORIGIXAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

conscience  still  enabled  liini  to  distinffuisli  betwixt  rio-ht  and 
wrong,  betwixt  a  duty  and  a  crime ;  and  taste  enabled  him 
to  perceive  the  contrasts  in  the  sphere  of  the  beautiful.  The 
extinction  of  his  spiritual  life  destroyed  the  unity  of  action 
which  pervaded  these  faculties,  and  rendered  the  exercise  of 
them  no  longer  expressions  of  holy  dependence  upon  God. 
The  mere  possession  of  them  has  no  moral  value ;  it  i&  the 
mode  of  using  them — it  is  the  principle  in  which  their 
activity  is  grounded — that  makes  them  truly  good.  Now, 
with  the  loss  of  the  image  of  God,  these  faculties  not  only 
lost  their  unity,  but  lost  their  original  power.  They  became 
diseased ;  and  hence  the  reason  blunders  in  the  sphere  of 
truth,  the  conscience  errs  in  the  sphere  of  right,  and  taste 
stumbles  in  the  sphere  of  beauty.  This  distinction  Augustin 
expressed  by  saying  that  the  fall  had  de- 

Augustin's  language  •         -t  ^       n  i  i  r>     j  • 

criticised.  prived  us  01   all    supernatural   perfections 

and  vitiated  those  that  were  natural.  The 
idea  which  he  intended  to  convey  is  just,  and  has  been  very 
ably  elucidated  by  Calvin,  but  the  phraseology  is  certainly 
objectionable.  The  image  of  God  in  which  man  was  created 
was  in  no  proper  sense  supernatural.  On  the  contrary,  as 
we  have  already  shown,  it  was  the  only  condition  jn  which 
it  is  conceivable  that  man  could  have  come  from  the  hands 
of  God.  It  was,  therefore,  his  natural  state.  The  form  of 
expression  which  Augustin  ought  to  have  adopted  was  that 
of  all  holy  endowments  man  was  completely  dispossessed, 
and  4iis  natural  endowments  were  grievously  injured. 

The  whole  notion  of  original  sin  as  a  subjective  state  is 

conveyed  by  a  phrase  w^hich,  from  the  controversy  with  the 

_,     ,       , ,  ,  ,      Remonstrants,  has  become  the  o-eneral  forra- 

The  phrase  total  ae-  '  o 

praviiy.  Three  senses  ula  for  tlic  cxjircssion  of  the  doctriuc ;  that 
phrase  is  iotal  depravity.  The  epithet  total 
is  employed  in  a  double  sense — (1.)  to  indicate  the  entire 
absence  of  spiritual  life,  the  total  destitution  of  holiness ; 
(2.)  in  the  next  place,  to  indicate  the  extent  of  depravity  in 
relation  to  the  constituent  elements  of  the  man ;  it  pervades 
his  whole  being  or  the  totality  of  his  constitution.     There 

Lect.  xiii.]  original  sin.  309 

is  still  a  third  sense  in  which  its  employment  might  be 

legitimate,  as  conveying  the  notion  of  a  positive  habitude  of 

soul  in  which  every  form  of  evil  might  be  grounded — a 

tendency  to  the  totality  of  sin.     But  the 

What  it  does  not  mean. 

word  Mas  never  used  to  express  the  de- 
grees of  positive  wickedness  attaching  to  human  nature.  It 
never  was  employed  to  convey  the  idea  that  men  were  as 
wicked  as  they  could  be,  or  that  there  were  no  differences 
of  individual  character  among  them.  On  the  contrary,  the 
most  strenuous  advocates  of  total  depravity  have  acknow- 
ledged the  difference  between  men  and  fiends,  and  betwixt 
one  man  and  another  in  reference  to  moral  conduct.  While 
they  contend  that  all  are  equally  dead,  they  are  far  from 
affirming  that  all  are  in  the  same  state  of  putrefaction. 
There  ts  every  gradation,  from  the  man  of  unblemished 
honour  and  integrity  to  the  low  and  unprincipled  knave  or 
cut-throat.  They  undertook  to  explain  these  varieties  in  the 
moral  features  of  humanity  upon  principles  which  would 
not  conflict  with  their  doctrine  of  total  dej^ravity,  show- 
ing conclusively  that  the  two  things  were  not,  as  they  could 
not  have  been,  with  any  show  of  decency,  confounded. 
4.  In  the  last  place,  this  depravity  was  represented  as 

hereditary,  as  bound  up  with  the  law  by 

It  was  liereditary.  i   .    ,        ,  .  .  i  tvt      i 

which  tlie  species  is  propagated.  JNo  hu- 
man being  could  escape  it  who  came  into  the  world  in  the 
ordinary  way.  It  was  an  inheritance  which  every  man 
brought  with  him  into  the  world.  The  production  of  his 
nature  as  human  and  his  nature  as  sinful  was  inseparable. 
There  was  no  conception,  in  the  ordinary  way,  which  was 
not  a  conception  in  sin — no  birth  which  was  not  the  birth 
of  a  sinner.  Hence,  there  could  be  no  exception  to  the 
universality  of  sin  which  was  not  also  an  excej)tion  to  the 
usual  mode  of  generation.  Whatsoever  was  born  of  the 
flesh  was  flesh.  Hence,  hereditary  corruption,  native  de- 
pravity and  original  sin  Avere  promiscuously  used  to  convey 
one  and  the  same  idea. 

I  have  thus  briefly  stated  what  is  meant  by  the  doctrine 


of  original  sin,  and  if  true  it  pi'esents  a  melancholy,  an 
The  doctrine  as     appalling   picturB  of  the  iiioral  condition 
stated,  If  true-,  appall-     of  the  racB.    It  is  beyond  all  controversy  the 
thorniest   question    in  the  whole   compass 
of  theology,  but  its  importance  is  fully  commensurate  with 
its  difficulties.     Here  lies  the  disease  which  redemption  was 
designed  to  remedy,  and  our  concejDtions  of  the  i^rovisions" 
of  grace  must  be  modified  by  our  conceptions  of  the  need 
they  were  arranged  to  meet.     The  natural  state  of  man  is 
the  key  for  unlocking  the  peculiarities  of  the  state  into 
which  he  is  introduced  by  grace.     No  man  can  ever  know 
God  in  Jesus  Christ  until  he  knows  himself.     If  tlie  doc- 
trine is  not  true,  it  would  seem  to  be  the 

if  not  true,  it  ought  to  •  i,  i  •       i    J^   •  •  i  , 

beWy  to  be  refuted.  Simplest  aud  casicst  thing  in  nature  to  re- 
fute it.  Man  is  before  us ;  our  own  con- 
sciousness is  a  volume  whicli  we  can  all  to  some  extent  read 
and  understand ;  and  the  question  is  concerning  the  inner- 
most ground  of  that  consciousness  as  it  pertains  to  God  and 
to  all  spiritual  good.  The  doctrine  professes  to  give  a  tran- 
script of  what  is  found  in  the  soul  of  man ;  it  takes  the 
jDhenomena  of  human  life,  analyzes  them,  explains  them 
and  reduces  them  to  their  principle.  If  there  is  an  error,  it 
must  be  in  the  facts  or  in  the  reasoning.  The  facts,  as  mat- 
ters of  experience,  speak  for  themselves,  and  the  error,  if  it 
lies  there,  can  surely  be  detected  and  exposed.  The  reason- 
ing is  short  and  simple,  not  at  all  complicated ;  there  is  but 
a  step  betwixt  the  premises  and  the  conclusion,  and  the 
error,  if  it  lies  there,  ought  also  to  be  easy  of  exposure. 
Under  these  circumstances,  if  the  doctrine  is  false,  if  it  is 
only  a  caricature  and  not  a  true  and  faithful  portrait,  is  it  not 
strange  that  the  most  earnest  and  self-scrutinizing  minds, 
the  most  zealous  and  faithful  and  devoted  saints,  have  been 
precisely  the  persons  who  have  insisted  most  tenaciously 
that  this  is  a  just  account  of  themselves  apart  from  the  grace 
of  God,  that  this  is  just  what  they  have  found  in  their  own 
souls,  and  what  observation  and  Scripture  alike  teach  them 
to  look  for  in  the  souls  of  others  ?     How  such  a  doctrine 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIX.  311 

could  have  originated,  obtained  currency,  been  handed 
down  from  generation  to  generation  among  such  men, 
and  been  defended  with  the  zeal  of  a  warfare  for  hearths 
and  altars,  is  an  inexplicable  marvel  if  after  all  it  is  a 
mere  libel  upon  poor  human  nature.  Tlie  presumption 
would  seem  to  be  in  its  favour.  It  could  not  have  lived  and 
spread  and  reigned  as  it  has  done  in  the 

It  must  be  true,  />    /-i     n       •  />    •       i       i  t  />      • 

Church  ot  (jod,  it  it  had  no  liie  ni  it. 
There  must  be  something  in  it ;  there  must  be  a  preponder- 
ance of  truth  in  it.  ]\Ien  are  too  much  interested  not  to 
believe  it,  to  render  it  credible  for  a  moment  that  it  should 
have  formed  a  part  of  the  faith  of  Christendom,  if  it  were 

not  radically  true.     Still,  it  may  be  exag- 

but  is  it  exaggerated  ?  i-i  ii-i 

gerated,  it  may  be  overwrought,  and  it  be- 
comes us  -with  the  utmost  candour  and  solemnity  to  examine 
the  grounds  upon  which  it  has  been  supposed  to  rest. 

1.  The  first  thing  that  claims  our  notice  in  investigat- 
ing the  facts  upon  which  the  doctrine  is 

First  fact   of  expe-  i     i     •      ji  •  i*j  £>      -  tt 

rience,  siu  universal.  gi'oundcd,  IS  the  universality  of  sin.  Here 
the  Scrij)tures  and  experience  completely 
coincide.  There  is  not  a  human  being  who  has  reached  the 
period  of  moral  agency  of  whom  it  cannot  be  confidently 
affirmed  not  only  that  he  has  sinned,  but  that  he  will  still 
continue  to  sin.  "  There  is  no  man,"  says  Solomon,  in  his 
sublime  prayer  of  dedication,  "  that  sinneth  not,"  ^  ''  There 
is  not  a  just  man  upon  earth  that  doeth  good  and  sinneth 
not.""  "How  should  man  be  just  with  God?  If  he  will 
contend  with  Him  he  cannot  answer  Him  for  one  of  a  thou- 
sand."^ The  doctrines  of  repentance,  pardon,  justification 
by  faith,  the  promises  of  daily  strength — in  fact,  all  the  dis- 
tinctive features  of  the  Gospel — take  for  granted  the  absolute 
universality  of  human  sin.  The  race  is  everywhere  con- 
templated, both  in  the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  as  a  race  of 
sinners.  When  we  encounter  a  human  being,  there  is  noth- 
incf  in  regard  to  him  of  which  we  are  more  certain  than 
that  he  has  often  done  what  was  wrong.  And  we  should 
1  1  Kings  viii.  4G.  ^  Eccles.  vii.  20.  ^  Jq},  [^  o,  3, 

312  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

look  upon  the  man  who  dealt  with  his  fellows  upon  the  sup- 
position that  any  of  them  were  free  from  sin  and  not  liable 
to  be  seduced  into  it,  as  much  more  to  be  pitied  for  his  weak- 
ness than  commended  for  his  charity.  If  now  all  have 
sinned,  if  every  mouth  must  be  stopped  and  the  whole 
world  become  guilty  before  God,  there  must  be  some  cause 
which  is  com^jetent  to  explain  this  universal  efTect.  The 
cause  cannot  be  partial  and  accidental ;  as  sin  is  not  the 
peculiarity  of  a  few  individuals  nor  the  preposterous  fash- 
ion of  single  tribes  or  peoples,  it  can  be  explained  by  no 
cause  M'hich  is  not  coextensive  in  its  influence  with  the 
entire  human  race.  An  universal  fact  implies  an  univer- 
sal cause.  Phenomena  which  always  accompany  humanity 
are  in  some  way  grounded  in  its  nature.  From  the  univer- 
sality of  reason,  conscience,  intelligence  and  will  we  infer 
that  they  belong  to  the  constitution  of  the  species.  Opera- 
tions which  can  only  be  ascribed  to  these  faculties,  as  causes, 
justify  the  inference  that  they  exist  as  universally  as  the 
effects,  and  are  inseparable  from  the  conception  of  a  human 
being.  On  the  same  principle  there  must  be  something  in 
man,  something  which  is  not  local  and  accidental,  but  some- 
thing which  cleaves  to  the  very  being  of  the  species,  that 
determines  every  individual  to  sin.  It  is  only  by  an  origi- 
nal tendency  to  evil,  or  an  ajDtitude  to  sin  lying  at  the  root 
of  the  will,  that  we  can  solve  the  phenomenon.  Let  us  sup- 
pose that  every  human  being  came  into  the  world  free  from 
every  irregular  bias,  that  the  will  was  exclusively  deter- 
mined to  good,  or,  as  Pelagians  hold,  indifferent  to  either 
alternative ;  and  how  does  it  happen  among  so  many  mil- 
lions who  have  lived  upon  the  earth,  through  so  many  ages 
and  generations,  in  so  many  nations  and  empires,  and  under 
so  many  different  forms  of  social  and  political  life,  that  not 
one  has  ever  yet  been  found  of  whom  Behold,  he  is  clean ! 
could  be  said  with  justice  ? 

2.  Sin  is  not  only  universal,  but  the  tendency  to  it,  accord- 
ing to  the  confession  of  the  race,  is  stronger  than  the  tendency 
to  good.     Men  have  to  be  carefully  educated    to   virtue; 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  313 

vice  requires  no  preparatory  training.  The  solicitude  of 
Second  fact  the  P^rcnts  for  tlicir  children,  the  precautions 
stronger  tendency  is  of  cvcry  commuuity  agaiust  crime,  the 
checks  which  every  constitution  has  to 
frame  against  the  abuse  of  power ;  our  bars,  bolts  and  dun- 
geons, our  racks,  gibbets  and  all  the  paraphernalia  of  penal 
justice,  are  conclusive  proofs  that  we  look  upon  each  other 
as  beings  not  to  be  trusted,  that  the  motives  of  virtue  re- 
quire to  be  propped  by  external  supports,  and  tliat  even 
when  thus  propped  they  are  counteracted  by  the  superior 
energy  of  evil.  Every  government  is  framed  upon  the  sup- 
position that  men  are  disposed  to  crime,  and  even  where  the 
disposition  has  not  been  elicited,  it  is  yet  very  likely  to  be 
acquired.  Here,  then,  is  a  prevailing  tendency  to  sin — a  tend- 
ency which  all  laws  acknowledge,  and  a  tendency  which,  if 
it  should  be  overlooked  and  not  guarded  against  in  any  com- 
monwealth, would  soon  bring  that  commonwealth  to  ruin. 

3.  To  this  may  be  added  the  experience  of  the  most  earn- 
„, .  ,  f  .   .,    .       est  and  devoted  men  in  the  culture  of  moral 

Thira    fact,  its    in- 
dwelling power  in  the     excellence.       They   complain   of  the   pres- 

best  men.  p     .       .        i  •      i        it 

ence  ol  sm  ni  tliem  as  an  nidwelling  power, 
manifesting  its  evil  in  sudden  temptation  or  sly  and  surrep- 
titious suggestions,  or  in  crippling  and  unnerving  the  prin- 
ciple of  good.  They  cannot  concentrate  their  energies  upon 
the  holy  and  divine.  Their  souls  are  rendered  sluggish, 
their  moral  forces  are  dissipated  and  scattered,  and  languor 
seizes  upon  their  spiritual  life.  This  mode  of  operation 
clearly  reveals  the  habitual  character  of  sin ;  it  is  evinced 
not  to  lie  in  single,  isolated  acts,  but  in  a  permanent,  abid- 
ing disposition,  a  fixed  habit  of  the  soul. 

4.  This  conclusion  is  further  confirmed  by  the  early  age 
Fourth  fact,  it  be-     ^^  ^hich  siu  makcs  its  appcaraucc  in  chil- 

gins  to  appear  in  ear-  drcu.  As  soou  as  tlicy  bcgiu  to  act,  tlicy 
bcffin  to  show  that  self-will  and  self-affir- 
mation  are  as  natural  as  thought  and  reflection — they  begin 
to  unfctld  in  their  narrow  sphere  those  same  tempers  and 
dispositions  which,  carried  over  to  mature  life  and  transferred 

314  ORIGINAL   SIX.  [Lect.  XIII. 

to  the  relations  of  business  and  social  intercourse,  are  branded 
as  odious  and  disgusting  vices.  Particularly  in  children  does 
the  spirit  of  self-seeking  very  early  develop  itself  in  the 
form  of  self-justification,  and  make  them  impatient  under 
rebukes,  surly  to  their  superiors,  and  prone  to  falsehood  as 
an  expedient  for  maintaining  their  reputation  free  from  re- 
proach. Augustin  has  signalized  these  perversities  of  his 
childhood ;  and  those  who  can  recall  their  own  childish  ex- 
perience, or  who  have  watched  the  development  of  character 
in  other  children,  can  be  at  no  loss  for  arguments  to  dispel 
the  common  illusion  concerning  the  innocence  of  childhood. 
It  is  true  that  there  is  a  class  of  sins,  the  offspring  of  expe- 
rience and  of  a  larger  knowledge  of  the  world,  from  which 
it  is  free ;  it  is  also  free  from  the  corresponding  virtues.  It 
has  not  yet  learned  distrust  and  caution — it  is  marked  by 
simplicity  of  faith  and  freedom  from  suspicion ;  but  it  is 
equally  marked  by  the  principle  of  self-affirmation,  whether 
the  character  be  gentle  and  mild  or  bold  and  impetuous. 
The  type  of  sin,  which  the  after-life  will  unfold,  begins  from 
the  dawn  of  consciousness  to  unfold  itself. 

Xow  these  facts  are  certainly  extraordinary  if  there  is  no 
such  thing  as  a  law  of  sin  in  human  nature. 

These  facts  to  be  ex-       -y^  ,  i        •        i  i  p  •  t 

piaiued  only  by  tiie  J^vcry  hypotliesis  Dut  that  ot  uativc  de- 
doctnne  of  original  p^avity  Utterly  breaks  down  in  attempting 
to  explain  them.  Sin  is  universal  as  a  fact. 
It  is  found,  without  exception,  in  every  human  being  who 
reaches  the  period  of  awakened  consciousness.  It  is  found 
in  those  who  are  striving  to  obey  the  law  of  virtue ;  it  per- 
vades their  faculties  and  enfeebles  their  energies  and  relaxes 
their  efforts.  It  is  stronger  in  the  race  than  the  tendency  to 
virtue ;  and  society  can  only  protect  itself  against  it  by  the 
powerful  support  of  penal  laws.  It  begins  to  unfold  its  po- 
tency at  the  very  dawn  of  consciousness,  and  is  as  truly 
present  in  the  child  as  in  the  full-grown  man.  These  are 
not  hypotheses,  but  facts ;  they  are  matters  of  daily  observa- 
tion, and  matters  upon  which  the  institutions  of  the  world 
turn.     Admit  an  original  aptitude  for  sin,  an  original  bias 

Lect.  XIIL]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  315 

to  evil,  and  the  phenomena  are  at  once  explained.  Deny  it, 
and,  as  Hume  says  of  the  Gospel,  all  is  mystery,  enigma, 
inexplicable  mystery.  It  is  beyond  controversy  that  every 
man  looks  upon  his  neighbour  as  having  that  within  him 
which  has  to  be  watched.  Whatever  he  may  think  of  his 
own  virtue,  he  is  not  willing  to  venture  very  far  upon  the 
mere  integrity  of  other  men,  apart  from  securities  extraneous 
to  the  innate  love  of  right. 

But  a  tendency  to  sin,  as  a  fixed  and  abiding  disposition. 

Is  there  any  nudd.e       Hiay  bc  admitted  tO  Cxist  without  ascribiug 

ground  of  truth  be-  ^q  q^^y  uaturc  that  complctc  and  hopeless 
ri'the't^lS  moral  desolation  which  the  Reformers  in- 
doctrine?  cludcd  in  the  notion  of  the  privation  of 

original  righteousness  and  the  corruption  of  the  whole 
nature.  The  Pelagian  doctrine^  that  sin  is  accidental  to 
every  individual,  and  that  the  uniformity  of  the  effect  does 
not  involve  the  steady  operation  of  a  permanent  cause,  may 
be  discarded  without  adopting  the  views  concerning  the  de- 
gree and  extent  of  depravity  which  characterize  the  Augus- 
tinian  school.  Sin  may  be  recognized  as  a  habit  co-ordinate 
with  other  and  opposite  habits ;  it  may  be  represented  as  a 
diseased  condition,  which  weakens  without  suppressing, 
hinders  without   extinguishing,  spiritual    life.     Though   it 

'  [Apart  from  the  Pelagian  scheme,  which  really  denies  any  fall  at  all, 
there  are  four  hypotheses  as  to  the  extent  of  the  injury  that  human  nature 
has  received.  The  first  is  that  of  some  Papists,  who  represent  original  sin 
as  merely  the  deprivation  of  supernatural  endowments,  leaving  man  in 
full  and  entire  possession  of  all  his  natural  gifts.  Original  righteousness 
was  a  supernatural  furniture  for  a  supernatural  end.  It  constituted  no 
part  of  man's  nature,  considered  simply  as  human,  and  considered  as  des- 
tined to  an  earthly  existence.  All  that  is  necessary  to  his  temporal  being 
he  still  possesses,  and  possesses  without  injury.  With  reference  to  a 
higher  and  nobler  end,  transcending  the  pure  idea  of  his  nature,  he  is 
wholly  unfurnished.  The  second  is  that  of  the  Sensationalists,  who  con- 
fine the  mischief  of  sin  to  the  insubordination  of  the  lower  appetites— the 
undue  preponderance  of  sense  over  reason  and  conscience,  of  flesh  over 
spirit.  The  third  is  that  of  the  Semi-Pelagians,  who  admit  the  pervading 
influence  of  sin  as  extending  to  the  whole  soul.  The  fourth  is  that  of  the 
Reformers,  which  we  have  already  signalized  as  maintaining  the  total 
corruption  of  the  whole  nature.] 

316  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

cleaves  to  the  nature,  it  only  enfeebles,  but  does  not  disable 
it ;  makes  it  languid  and  sluggish  in  its  desires  after  good, 
but  does  not  destroy  the  truth  and  reality  of  holy  aspirations. 
Something  good  still  clings  to  the  soul.  There  are  still 
traces  of  its  pristine  beauty,  impressions  of  its  original  glory. 
The  spiritual  and  divine  have  not  been  wholly  lost  by  the 
fall.     One    party   has    represented   sin   as 

The  Sensationalists.  i     •  i  •  i 

seated  m  the  sensational  nature,  and  con- 
sisting in  the  undue  strength  of  corporeal  appetites  and  pas- 
sions. The  higher  principles  of  action,  the  principles  of 
reason  and  conscience,  exist  in  their  integrity,  but  they  are 
unable  to  subdue  and  regulate  the  inordinate  motions  of 
sense.  The  flesh  is  stronger  than  the  spirit.  It  is  in  this 
want  of  proportion  between  the  lower  and  the  higher,  the 
want  of  proper   adjustment,  that   sin   essentially  consists. 

Others  admit  that  the  disorder  of  sin  ex- 

The  Semi-Pelagians. 

tends  to  tlie  whole  soul,  that  the  entire 
nature  is  brought  under  its  influence ;  but  that  there  still  re- 
mains in  man  a  point  of  attachment  for  Divine  grace — an 
ability  by  which  he  can  concur  with  or  decline  the  influences 
of  the  Holy  Ghost.  He  has  points  of  sympathy  with  the 
good  by  virtue  of  which  he  is  differenced  from  devils  and 
made  capable  of  redemption.  They  admit  his  bondage,  but 
contend  that  there  is  that  still  left  in  man  which  causes  him 
to  abhor  it,  to  sigh  for  deliverance  from  it,  and  to  accept 
cheerfully  the  friendly  hand  that  proffers  to  him  assistance. 

This  natural  ability  is  a  very  different 
fereiicid  "^^^  '^'^'^  "       tiling  froiii  that  Avliich  Arminians  attribute 

to  the  race  through  grace.  It  belongs  to 
man  independently  of  the  work  of  the  Spirit,  and  is  precisely 
that  which  conditions  the  result  of  that  work.     Tlic  Armi- 

niaii  admits  that  man  since  the  fall  has  no 

from  Arniiiiiaiis.  i  i  -i 

natural  ability  to  good,  and  ascribes  to  re- 
deeming mercy  that  attitude  of  the  will  by  virtue  of  which 
it  is  enabled  to  accept  the  offer  of  salvation.  The  ability  is 
the  same  in  kind,  but  different  in  its  origin,  from  that  main- 
tained by  those  who  contend  for  something  still  good  amid 

Lect.  XIIL]  ORIGINAL  SIN.  317 

the  ruins  of  the  a2)ostasy.     The  question,  therefore,  which 
we  have  to  discuss  is,  Whether  the  sinner, 

Is   there    anv   good        •      i  i       j.i  /?  1 

naturally  i..  man?  independently  of  grace,  possesses  any  ele- 
ment that  can  be  truly  and  properly  called 
good  ?  Whether  any  seeds  of  holiness  are  still  deposited  in 
his  nature  ?  Whether  he  is  able  in  any  sphere  of  cognition 
or  of  practice  to  compass  the  holy  and  divine?  There  are 
but  two  sources  of  proof:  Scrijjture  and  experience — the 
word  of  God  and  the  consciousness  of  those  who  have  been 
renewed  by  the  Holy  Ghost. 

If  there  be  any  spiritual  good  in  man,  it  must  manifest 

If  there  be  any  good  i^Sclf  iu  the  doublc  foHU  of  Spiritual  pcr- 
in  man,  he  must  l)Oth  CCptioU  and  of  holy  loVC,  aS  an  act  of  cog- 
know  and  love  God.  .    .  ,  (1        Ml  T      •      i1  1 

nition  and  an  act  ol  will,  it  is  the  charac- 
teristic of  holiness  that  it  holds  in  unity  all  the  elements  of 
our  rational  and  moral  being.  We  can  separate  logically 
betwixt  thought  and  volition,  betwixt  the  understanding 
and  the  heart,  but  in  every  holy  exercise  there  is  the  indis- 
soluble union  of  both.  The  perception  of  beauty  and  ex- 
cellence cannot  be  disjoined  from  love.  The  peculiarity  of 
the  cognition  is  just  the  discernment  of  that  element  to 
which  the  soul  immediately  cleaves  as  the  divine  and  good. 
Now  if  man  independently  of  grace  possesses  any  germ  of 
holiness,  he  is  able  to  some  extent  to  perceive  and  appre- 
ciate the  infinite  excellence  of  God ;  he  must  in  some  de- 
gree love  Him  as  the  perfect  good,  and  desire  conformity 
with  Him  as  the  true  perfection  of  the  soul.  Wherever 
there  is  no  element  of  love  to  God  as  the  good  there  is  no 
real  holiness.  Wherever  there  is  no  sense  of  the  glory  of 
God  as  the  supreme  end  of  life  there  is  nothing  divine. 
Tried  by  this  test — and  it  is  the  only  test  which  is  at  all 
applicable  to  the  case — every  mouth  must  surely  be  stopped 
and  the  whole  world  become  guilty  before  God.  The  testi- 
mony of  Scripture  is  explicit,  both  as  to 

Scripture       denies  ?        •        i   -Tj,        x  •  xl  1  i* 

both  respecting  him.      "lau  s   inability  to  pcrccivc  the  glory  of 

God,  and  the  total  absence  from  his  heart 

of  anything  answering  to  a  genuine  love.     Every  Scripture 

318  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

which  teaches  that  liis  understanding  is  blinded  by  sin,  that 
his  mind  is  darkness,  that  he  needs  a  special  illumination 
of  the  Spirit  of  God  in  order  to  be  able  to  cognize  Divine 
things,  teaches  most  explicitly  that  in  his  natural  condition  he 
is  destitute  of  the  lowest  germ  of  holiness.  If  he  cannot  see 
he  surely  cannot  relish  beauty.  If  he  is  incapable  of  apjire- 
hending  the  qualities  which  excite  holy  aftections,  he  is 
surely  incapable  of  possessing  the  emotions  themselves. 
There  is  nothing  in  the  unrenewed  sinner  corresponding  to 
that  union  of  all  the  higher  faculties  in  one  operation  which 
is  implied  in  every  exercise  of  holiness.  He  neither  knows 
God  nor  loves  Him.     Hence,  all  who  have  been  renewed 

The    experience  of    ,  ^^^^    COUScioUS    that    thcy    liaVC    bcCU     iutrO- 

aii  renewed  men  con-     duccd   iuto  a  ucw  type  of  life.     There  is 

firms  the  Scripture.  i  i  i  n  i  •  i 

not  the  development  oi  something  that 
was  in  them  before,  dormant  or  suppressed,  but  all  things 
have  become  in  a  most  important  sense  new.  Their  facul- 
ties are  moved  by  a  principle  of  which  they  had  previously 
experienced  no  trace,  and  a  harmony  and  unity  are  imparted 
to  them  which  make  them  like  really  new  powers.  It  is 
useless  to  recount  the  numerous  passages  of  Scripture  which 
teach  the  natural  blindness  of  men,  the  hardness  of  their 
hearts,  the  perverseness  of  their  wills  and  their  obstinate 
aversion  to  the  Author  of  their  being — useless  to  cite  the 
manifold  texts  which  describe  man  in  his  natural  state  as 
an  enemy  to  God  and  a  slave  to  his  lusts,  to  Satan  and  the 
world.  Their  plain  and  obvious  meaning  would  be  ad- 
mitted at  once  if  there  were  not  certain  appearances  of 
human  nature  which  seem  to  be  contradictory  to  the  natural 
explanation,  and  which  therefore  demand  a  sense  in  harmony 
with  themselves.  If  these  appearances  can  be  reconciled 
with  the  scheme  of  total  depravity,  then  that  scheme  must 
be  accepted  as  the  one  taught  in  Scripture. 

Among  these  appearances,  the  one  on  which  most  stress 
„,  f ,,  is  laid  is  the  exhibition  of  a  character  dis- 

The  case  of  the  un- 
renewed man  of  high     tinguislicd  by  high  probity  and  scrupulous 

moral  character.  .  .  ,  _,, 

inteffritv  amono-    unrenewed    men.     ihere 

Lect.  XIII].  ORIGINAL   SIX.  319 

are  those  who  make  conscience  of  duty,  who  recognize  the 
supreme  authority  of  right,  and  who  endeavour  to  regu- 
late their  lives  by  the  principles  of  reason.  These  men 
are  not  to  be  put  in  the  same  category  with  abandoned 
knaves  or  heartless  voluptuaries.  They  have  something 
about  them  spiritual  and  divine ;  they  are  good  men.  Such 
was  the  young  man  who  presented  himself  to  the  Saviour 
as  an  inquirer  after  life,  and  whom  even  Jesus  is  said  to 
have  loved.  Here  the  real  question  is  as  to  the  root  of  this 
morality.  If  it  can  exist  apart  from  the  love  of  God,  and 
apart  from  any  spiritual  perception  of  the  beauty  and  ex- 
cellence of  holiness,  it  is  no  more  a  proof  of  Divine  life 
than  the  loveliness  of  a  corpse  is  a  proof  that  the  soul  still 
lingers  in  it.  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  fall  has 
destroyed  no  one  faculty  of  man.  It  has  not  touched  the 
substance  of  the  soul.  That  remains  entire  with  all  its  en- 
dowments of  intelligence,  conscience  and  will.  These  facul- 
ties have  all,  too,  their  laws,  which  determine  the  mode  and 
measure  of  their  operation — principles  which  lie  at  their 
root  and  which  condition  the  possibility  of  their  exercise. 
Intelligence  has  its  laws,  which  constitute  the  criteria  of 
truth  and  falsehood,  and  without  the  silent  influence  of  which 
no  mental  activity  could  be  construed  into  knowledge. 
Conscience  has  its  laws,  which  constitute  the  criteria  of  right 
and  wrong,  and  without  which  the  sense  of  duty  or  of  good 
and  ill  desert  would  be  wholly  unintelligible.  Taste  has  its 
laws,  which  constitute  the  criteria  of  beauty  and  deformity, 
without  which  aesthetic  sentiments  would  be  nothing  but 
arbitrary  and  capricious  emotions.  These  are  all  co-ordi- 
nate faculties,  and  each  has  a  sphere  that  is  peculiar  to  itself. 
Collectively,  they  constitute  the  rational,  moral,  accountable 
being.  They  point  to  three  distinct  spheres  of  thought  and 
life — truth,  virtue,  beauty.  Intelligence  is  the  faculty  of 
truth,  conscience  is  the  faculty  of  virtue,  and  taste  is  the 
fticulty  of  beauty.  They  all  have  an  essential  unity  in 
the  unity  of  the  human  person.  They  are  grounded  in 
one  and  the  same  spiritual  substance.     It  is  obvious  that 

320  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

the  mere  possession  of  these  faculties  does  not  make  a 
being  holy,  otherwise  holiness  could  not  be  lost  without 
the  destruction  of  the  characteristic  elements  of  human- 
ity. They  exist  in  the  fiend  as  really  as  in  the  saint. 
Neither,  again,  does  every  mode  of  exercising  them  deter- 
mine anything  as  to  the  holiness  of  the  agent.  There  may 
be  a  spontaneous  exercise  in  which  the  ground  of  satisfac- 
tion is  the  congruity  between  the  faculty  and  its  object. 
Truth  may  be  loved  simply  as  that  which  is  suited  to 
evoke  the  peculiar  activity  which  we  term  knowledge. 
Duty  may  be  practiced,  in  obedience  to  the  authority  of  con- 
science, to  prevent  schism  and  a  sense  of  disharmony  in  the 
soul;  each  faculty  may  seek  its  object  and  delight  in  its 
object  only  from  the  natural  correspondence  betwixt  them. 
When  this  is  the  spring  of  action  and  the  ground  of  pleas- 
ure, there  is  nothing  but  a  manifestation  of  the  essential  ele- 
ments of  humanity.  There  may  be  in  this  way  much  truth 
acquired,  and  duty  as  a  demand  of  the  nature  may  be  stead- 
ily and  consistently  practiced,  and  in  all  this  the  man  never 
rise  above  himself.  He  is  acting  out  his  own  constitution, 
and  the  law  of  his  agency  is  that  it  is  his  constitution.  His 
cognitions  of  duty  are  really  in  this  aspect  upon  a  level  with 
his  cognitions  of  truth,  and  he  himself  is  the  centre  of  both. 
Given  his  present  constitution,  he  might  act  and  think  as 
he  docs  if  there  were  no  God  to  whom  he  is  responsible. 
In  order  that  the  exercise  of  these  faculties  may  be  holy, 
there  must  be  something  more  than  the  substantial  unity 
of  the  person ;  they  must  be  grounded  in  a  common  princi- 
ple of  love  to  God.  As  truth,  beauty  and  goodness  are  one 
in  Him,  so  they  must  be  one  in  us  by  an  unity  of  life. 
Truth  must  not  only  be  apprehended  as  something  suited 
to  my  faculties  of  cognition,  but  as  something  Avhich  reflects 
the  glory  of  God,  and  be  loved  as  a  ray  of  His  excellence ; 
beauty  must  not  only  be  admired  as  something  suited  to 
my  taste,  but  as  the  radiance  of  Divine  excellence,  the 
harmony  of  the  Divine  perfections;  and  the  good  must 
not  only  be  a2)prehended  as  a  thing  that  ought  to  be,  the 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  321 

right  and  obligatory,  but  as  the  secret  of  the  Divine  life, 
the  soul  of  the  Divine  blessedness.  Where  the  heart  is  per- 
vaded by  holy  love  all  these  faculties  move  in  unison  and 
all  derive  their  inspiration  from  God.  Hence,  in  these 
various  spheres,  the  cognitions  of  a  holy  and  an  unholy 
being  are  radically  different ;  they  look  at  the  same  objects, 
but  they  see  them  in  a  different  light.  One  perceives  only 
the  relations  to  himself;  the  other  perceives  the  marks  and 
traces  of  God.  One  sees  only  the  things ;  the  other  sees 
God  in  the  things.  To  one  the  objective  reality  is  all ; 
to  the  other,  the  objective  reality  is  only  the  dress  in 
which  Deity  makes  Himself  visible.  In  one,  each  faculty 
has  its  own  separate  life  grounded  in  its  own  laws ;  in  the 
other,  they  all  have  a  common  life  grounded  in  love  to  Him 
who  is  at  once  the  true,  the  beautiful  and  the  good.  Hence, 
as  there  may  be  knowledge  and  taste  without  holiness,  so 
„  .     ^         .         there  may  also  be  virtue.     Eminent  con- 

Eminent    conscien-  J 

tiousness  with  emi-     scicntiousness  may  be  joined  with  eminent 

nent  ungodliness.  ,,.  i   •     i  c   -\     ,  ii 

ungodliness — a  nigh  sense  ot  duty  as  the  re- 
quirement of  our  own  nature  with  an  utter  absence  of  any  real 
sense  of  dependence  upon  God.  The  most  splendid  achieve- 
ments, therefore,  of  unrenewed  men  are  dead  works — ob- 
jectively good,  but  subjectively  deficient  in  that  which  alone 
can  entitle  them  to  be  considered  as  the  expressions  of  a 
Divine  life.  That  this  reduction  is  true  may  be  inferred 
from  the  fact  that  there  is  a  tendency  in  all  integrity  which 
exists  apart  from  the  grace  of  God  to  generate  a  spirit  of 
pride.  The  motives  to  right-doing  are  apt  to  crystallize 
aronnd  this  principle  as  their  central  law.  The  great  argu- 
ment for  virtue  is  the  dignity  of  human  nature ;  the  life  of 
virtue  is  self-respect,  and  the  beauty  and  charm  of  virtue  is 
the  superiority  which  it  impresses  upon  its  votaries.     This 

tendency    is    strikingly  illu.strated   in   the 

The    virtue  of   the  i         i        l>    xl.        Oi.    •  rr\\.    •       i:>        1  i     ^ 

gjj,jj.j,  school  ot  the  otoics.      iheir  fundamental 

maxim  was.  Be  true  to  yourselves;  and  the 

difference  betwixt  the  genius  of  their  philosophy  and  the 

philosophy  of  Christianity  is,  that  in  the  one,  man  is  com- 

VoL.  I.— 21 

322  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

pared  to  a  palace  in  which  the  personal  individual  reigns  as 
a  king,  and  in  the  other,  to  a  temple  in  which  God  mani- 
fests His  presence  and  His  glory.  The  virtue  of  one  exalts 
the  creature ;  the  virtue  of  the  other  glorifies  the  Creator. 
The  one  burns  incense  to  his  own  drag  and  sacrifices  to  his 
own  net ;  the  other  lays  all  its  tribute  at  the  feet  of  Divine 
grace.  The  one,  in  short,  is  the  virtue  of  pride,  and  the 
other  is  the  virtue  of  humility.  The  difference  betwixt 
holiness  and  morality  is  like  the  diiference  between  the 
Ptolemaic  and  Copernican  systems  of  the  universe.  One 
puts  the  earth  in  the  centre  and  makes  the  heavenly  bodies 
revolve  around  it ;  the  other,  the  sun.  One  makes  man 
supreme  ;  the  other,  God.  Without  denying  the  reality  of 
human  virtue,  or  reducing  to  the  same  level  of  moral  worth- 
lessness  all  the  gradations  of  human  character,  it  is  possible 
to  maintain  that  independently  of  grace  there  is  none  that 
doeth  good  in  a  spiritual  and  divine  sense,  no  not  one. 
There  is  none  that  understandeth,  there  is  none  that  seek- 
eth  after  God.  They  are  all  gone  out  of  the  way,  they  are 
together  become  unprofitable ;  there  is  none  that  doeth  good, 
no,  not  one.  There  is  no  fear  of  God  before  their  eyes. 
There  is  a  passage  in  Miiller's  profound  work  upon  the 
Muiier  on  Sin,  criti-  Christian  Doctrine  of  Sin,  in  which,  through 
cised  as  concerning     inattcntiou  to  tlic  radical  distinction  betwixt 

holiness  and  morality.        i      i.  -i  t  i         i  •  •         i 

holiness  and  morality,  he  has  maintained  a 
view  of  human  nature  apart  from  grace  which  cannot  be 
reconciled  with  the  teachings  of  Scripture  or  the  fixcts  of 
Christian  experience.  And  as  the  whole  strength  of  the  ar- 
gument against  total  depravity  is  condensed  in  his  remarks, 
it  may  be  well  to  expose  their  error. 

"  We  have  already,"  he  says,^  "  directed  our  attention  to 
the  fact,  that  in  general  there  are,  even  for  the  determined 
villain,  still  deeds  of  crime  at  which,  if  only  for  a  passing 
moment,  he  shudderingly  turns  away  when  the  temptation 
to  the  same  presents  itself  to  him.  This  is  an  unambiguous 
testimony  that  even  such  an  one  is  still  capable  of  aggrava- 

'  Vol.  ii.,  p.  269,  271. 



tino;  his  state  of  moral  villainousness.     But  where  aggrava- 
tion  is  still  possible,  there  must  also  exist  a  remnant  of  some 
power  of  good  to  be  overcome,  however  deeply  buried  under 
the  ashes  of  an  unbridled  life  of  crime  the  sparks  of  the  same 
may  be  smouldering.     Neither  shall  we  be  able  altogether 
to  deny  the  deeply  debased  man,  in  general,  the  ability  of 
delaying  or  of  hastening  the  progress  of  his  debasedness. 
The  will,  as  the  governing  middle  point  of  the  inner  life, 
does  not,  even  in  abandoned,  obdurate  debasedness  of  life, 
become  entirely  lost  in  its    own    complicate    entanglement 
with  sin,  but  there  ever  remains,  so  far  as  we  are  acquainted 
with  human  conditions,  and  in  so  far  as  the  human  has  not 
yet  passed  over  into  diabolical  evil,  down  in  the  very  deep 
of  the  soul  an  unvanquished  remnant  of  moral,  self-deter- 
mining power — an  ability,  if  ever  so  limited,  of  self-decision 
between  the  moral  requirement  and  the  impulses  of  wicked 
lust.     And  if  this  must  be  admitted  in  the  most  degenerate 
phenomena  of  the  natural  condition,  how  much  more  shall 
we  be  required  to  do  so  with  respect  to  its  better  forms ! 
Human  nature  has  been  created  by  God  so  noble  that  it  is 
not  easily  possible,  even  in  its  aggravated  and  deeply  fallen 
state,  entirely  to  destroy  the  traces  of  its  origin  which  exhibit 
themselves  in  the  power  of  the  good."     Further  on  man's 
natural  condition  is  represented,  in  the  words  of  Neander,  as 
consisting  of  "  two  mutually  conflicting  principles — the  prin- 
ciple of  the  Divine  offspring,  the  God-alliance  in  the  endow- 
ment of  the  God,  and  the  therein  grounded  moral  self-con- 
sciousness, the  reaction  of  the  religio-moral  original  nature 
of  man ;    and   the   principle   of  sin,   spirit    and  flesh — so, 
however,  that  the  former  principle  is  impeded  in  its  devel- 
opment and  efficiency,  and  therefore  held  captive.     Man,  in 
his  natural  condition,  without  the  peace  of  reconciliation,  is, 
just  because  this  peace  is  the  truth  of  his  very  life,  not  an 
essence  which  is  compact,  restful  in  itself,  but  one  which  is 
in   itself  disunited,    disquiet   and    full    of  contradictions." 
"  The  highest  activity,  therefore,  of  the  still  existent  power 
of  the  good  in  the  human  natural  condition,  is  not  to  deter- 

324  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

mine  to  produce  from  itself  an  activity  corresponding  to  the 
Divine  requirement — for  that  it  is  by  no  means  able  to  do — 
but  to  drive  man  to  the  humble  and  self-surrendering  at- 
tachment to  the  salvation  of  Jesus ;  and  that  which  in  itself 
is  excellent  becomes  in  the  reality  the  very  worst  perversion 
when  it  self-sufficiently  and  perversely  sets  itself  up  over 
against  the  offered  salvation." 

This  passage  exhibits  the  whole  of  the  philosophy  in  which 
the  doctrine  of  the  bondage  of  the  will  is  sought  to  be  recon- 
ciled with  the  active  concurrence  of  man  in  the  application 
of  redemption.  It  endeavours  to  maintain,  on  the  one  hand, 
the  hopeless  ruin  of  the  race  apart  from  the  grace  of  God, 
and  to  ground,  on  the  other,  the  different  reception  of  the 
Gospel  on  the  part  of  men  in  the  state  of  their  own  wills ; 
it  is  an  effort  to  teach  depravity  without  efficacious  grace — 
inability  without  predestination.  It  wishes  to  make  man 
the  immediate  arbiter  of  his  own  destiny.  The  passage, 
therefore,  deserves  to  be  carefully  considered. 

1.  In  the  first  place,  because  there  are  degrees  of  wicked- 
Four  distinctions  be-  ness,  it  is  a  singular  confusion  of  ideas  to 
twixt  hoiintss  anil  infer  that  any  can  be  good.  One  state  may 
be  worse  than  another  Avithout  being  less 
virtuous.  One  stage  of  degradation  is  certainly  lower  than 
another,  but  it  does  not  follow  that  there  is  anything  lofty  in 
either.  The  development  of  wickedness  is  one  thing,  the 
presence  of  holiness  is  another ;  and  the  mere  absence  of 
certain  measures  or  forms  of  wickedness  is  not  the  affirma- 
tion of  any  positive  element  of  goodness.  Miiller  has  here 
evidently  confounded  that  relative  goodness  %vhich  is  only  a 
less  degree  of  badness  with  the  really  good — the  non -presence 
of  types  of  sin  with  the  actual  presence  of  a  principle — of  a 
germ — of  holiness.  We  might  as  well  say  that  because  the 
recent  corpse  was  less  loathsome,  it  was  therefore  less  dead 
than  that  which  is  rapidly  sinking  in  decay  and  putrefaction. 
2.  In  the  next  place,  to  represent  the  resistance  which  a 
man  makes  to  his  own  conscience  in  every  successive  stage 
of  sin  as  a  struggle  against  the  good  which  still  exerts  itself 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  825 

within  him,  is  to  overlook  the  distinction  betwixt  the  au- 
thority of  conscience  and  the  love  of  God.  The  conscience 
certainly  remonstrates  and  enforces  the  right  in  the  form  of 
an  absolute,  unconditioned  imperative — it  threatens  him  with 
the  destruction  of  his  peace  if  he  perseveres  in  his  career ; 
but  the  right  comes  to  him  as  restraint,  as  force — as  some- 
thing against  which  the  current  of  his  soul  is  set.  There  is 
neither  love  to  it,  nor  respect  to  the  will  of  God  as  declared 
by  it.  There  is  no  struggle  of  inclinations,  of  opposite 
loves,  but  there  is  a  struggle  of  love  and  inclination  against 
positive  j)rohibition.  To  know  duty  and  to  be  reluctant  to 
perform  it  is  no  proof  of  goodness  in  the  heart.  On  the  con- 
trary, as  we  have  already  seen,  there  may  be  a  real  satisfac- 
tion of  duty  as  the  demand  of  our  own  moral  nature,  without 
the  slightest  tincture  of  complacency  in  God  or  the  slightest 
reference  to  the  supreme  end  of  our  existence. 

3.  In  the  third  place,  the  conflicts  which  take  place  in  the 
breast  of  the  natural  man  are  not  conflicts  between  the  love 
of  God  and  the  inordinate  desires  and  passions  of  a  fallen 
nature.  They  are  conflicts  between  conscience  and  his  lusts ; 
and  the  deepest  mortification  which  he  experiences  under  the 
sense  of  his  degradation  is  the  injury  done  to  his  pride. 
There  is  no  penitence  before  God,  and  there  is  no  shame  for 
having  brought  reproach  upon  Him  or  fdr  having  come 
short  of  His  glory. 

4.  In  the  last  place,  the  disjointed,  miserable  condition  to 
which  the  sinner  finds  himself  reduced  has  no  tendency  to 
dispose  his  mind  to  a  favourable  reception  of  the  Gospel. 
The  rejiresentations,  in  which  a  class  of  writers  is  prone  to 
indulge,  of  the  heart  of  fallen  man  as  conscious  of  its  bondage 
and  sighing  for  deliverance,  looking  out  eagerly  for  some 
method  of  escape  from  the  degradation  and  ruin  of  sin,  are 
mere  figures  of  the  fancy  unsustained  by  a  solitary  fact  of 
experience.  Man  has  struggles  and  conflicts,  but  they  are 
struggles,  not  to  escape  from  sin,  but  to  escape  from  his  own 
conscience  and  the  law.  His  misery  is  that  he  cannot  sin 
with  impunity.     His  great  eifort,  in  the  development  of  sin, 

326  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

is  to  extinguish  the  sense  of  obligation  ;  and  the  peace  which 
he  seeks  is  a  peace  which  shall  reconcile  God  to  him  and  not 
him  to  God.  There  is  nothing  in  the  subjective  condition 
of  the  sinner  which  renders  redemption  welcome  to  him ; 
there  is  neither  a  longing  for  it  before  it  comes,  nor  a  joyful 
acceptance  after  it  has  been  revealed.  The  Scriptures  every- 
where attribute  to  the  grace  of  God  those  spiritual  percep- 
tions which  present  the  Saviour  to  us  as  an  object  of  faith 
and  love,  and  enable  us  to  appreciate  the  fullness  and  freeness 
of  pardoning  mercy.  It  is  only  the  Divine  Spirit  who  pro- 
duces the  hatred  of  sin  as  sin,  and  the  desire  to  be  liberated 
from  it  on  account  of  its  inherent  vileness.  There  is  nothing; 
in  man  to  which  redemption  attaches  itself  as  sympathizing 
with  its  own  distinctive  provisions  and  predisposing  the 
heart  for  its  message ;  and  it  is  proverbial  that  the  very  last 
to  submit  to  its  overtures  are  precisely  those  who  have  the 
greatest  degree  of  that  moral  good  which  consists  in  con- 
scientiousness and  integrity.  If  mere  morality  is  of  a  piece 
with  holiness,  it  would  seem  that  the  more  moral  a  man 
was,  the  readier  he  would  be  to  accept  the  offers  of  salvation ; 
but  the  language  of  our  Saviour  in  relation  to  the  Pharisees 
of  His  own  generation  holds  in  relation  to  the  same  class  in 
all  ages.  Publicans  and  harlots  go  into  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  before  them. 

But  it  may  be  asked.  Is  there  not  a  capability  of  redemp- 
tion?    Is  there  nothing  upon   which   the 

In  what  sense,  man       r^  -i  'xixiii  i-  i 

capable  of  redemption.  Gospcl  cau  scizc  that  shall  cvokc  au  ccho 
of  the  unrenewed  heart  to  its  doctrines  and 
promises  ?  The  answer  is,  that  there  is  no  natural  sympathy 
between  them  ;  but  there  is  a  deep  and  profound  sympathy 
produced  by  the  Divine  Spirit  when  He  awakens  the  con- 
sciousness of  need.  The  consciousness  of  need  is  awakened 
through  the  impulse  which  He  gives  to  the  operations  of 
conscience.  He  employs  our  natural  faculties  ;  through  them 
He  convinces  of  sin,  of  righteousness  and  of  judgment,  and 
by  His  secret  touch  they  are  brought  into  the  attitude  in 
which  they  are  prepared  to  listen  to  the  joyful  tidings  of 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  327 

salvation.  We  have  the  elements  out  of  which  a  sympathy 
can  be  established,  but  that  sympathy  results  entirely  from 
the  direction  which  the  Holy  Ghost  impresses  upon  these 
elements.  Left  to  themselves,  they  would  everlastingly 
struggle  in  their  blindness  against  God,  holiness  and  heaven. 
The  real  tendencies  of  human  nature  left  to  itself  are  found 
„   „    .       ^         in  heathenism.     If  there  is  in  man  a  sense 

Heathenism    snows 

the  real  temiencies  of     of  the  lioly,  of  tlic  Spiritual  and    divine, 

liuman  nature.  .  /.     i  .  i  i  ,     ^  •  i' 

if  there  is  a  real  and  earnest  longing  lor 
emancipation  from  the  bondage  of  sin,  we  should  expect  to 
see  it  embodied  in  some  of  the  forms  of  religious  worship  in 
which  man  has  given  utterance  to  the  deepest  and  profound- 
est  instincts  of  his  soul.  Do  we  find  any  such  yearning  in 
the  ritual  of  heathenism  ?  Is  it  the  effort  of  a  sinful  crea- 
ture to  restore  itself  to  God  in  the  fellowship  of  holy  love  ? 
Does  it  hold  fast,  while  it  confesses  its  own  weakness  and 
aberrations,  to  the  infinite  goodness  and  the  adorable  excel- 
lence of  God?  Is  its  language  that  He  is  glorious  and 
deserves  to  be  praised  and  loved,  while  we  are  vile  and 
ungrateful  in  withholding  the  tribute  that  is  due  ?  So  far 
from  it,  that  no  explanation  can  be  given  of  its  absurdities 
and  monstrosities,  its  contradictions  to  reason  and  con- 
science, its  violent  perversions  even  of  taste  and  decency, 
but  that  it  is  the  determined  effort  of  a  moral  being,  cut 
loose  from  its  Maker,  to  extinguish  all  right  apprehensions 
of  His  name.  It  has  utterly  exploded  the  notion  of  holi- 
ness as  'an  attribute  either  of  God  or  man ;  it  has  outraged 
reason  by  creations  that  contradict  the  first  principles  of 
common  sense;  it  has  outraged  conscience  by  putting  the 
stamp  of  religion  upon  crimes  and  atrocities  which  one,  it 
would  seem,  could  never  have  dreamed  of,  if  he  had  not 
been  resolutely  set  on  becoming  as  unnatural  as  it  was  pos- 
sible ;  it  has  outraged  taste  by  transferring  to  the  sphere  of 
worship  all  the  forms  of  deformity,  ugliness,  hatefulness 
which  it  is  possible  for  the  human  imagination  to  picture. 
If  the  problem  had  been  to  devise  a  scheme  in  which  not  a 
single  element  that  belongs  to  the  hio-lier  nature  of  man 

328  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect,  XIIL 

slioukl  enter,  in  which  all  truth,  all  goodness  and  all  beauty 
should  be  entirely  and  completely  banished — ^a  scheme  in 
which  it  was  proposed  to  reach  the  climax  of  contradiction 
to  the  noblest  features  of  humanity — nothing  more  conso- 
nant to  such  a  purpose  could  have  been  excogitated  than  the 
system  of  heathenism.  It  shows  us  what  the  human  soul 
longs  for,  and  while  it  reveals  man's  need  of  redemption 
it  reveals  at  the  same  time  the  malignant  opposition  which 
it  must  expect  to  encounter. 

In  every  view  of  the  case,  therefore,  whether  we  look  at 
man  in  his  wdckedness  or  in  his  virtues. 

The  case  summed  up.  ii     i  i  i         ■ 

we  are  compelled  to  say  that  he  is  totally 
destitute  of  any  holy  love  to  his  God.  His  is  dead  in  tres- 
passes and  sins.  He  has  an  understanding  which  is  able  to 
distinguioh  betwixt  truth  and  falsehood,  which  can  explore 
the  mysteries  of  nature  and  reduce  the  manifold  in  her  com- 
plicated phenomena  to  the  unity  of  law  ;  but  in  all  the  mul- 
titude of  his  discernments  he  cannot  find  the  Father  of  his 
own  soul,  and  the  real  source  of  all  the  truth  that  he  appro- 
priates in  fragments.  His  knowledge  misses  the  very  life 
and  soul  of  truth,  and  his  science  is  but  a  dead  form.  He 
has  a  conscience  which  reveals  to  him  the  eternal  distinc- 
tions of  right  and  wrong  and  unveils  the  awful  majesty  of 
virtue.  He  recognizes  the  deep  significance  of  law  and 
duty,  but  he  fails  to  ascend  to  the  primal  fountain  of  all 
rectitude,  and  is  destitute  of  that  Divine  life  in  which  the 
right  is  realized  as  the  good,  and  law  divested  of  all"  appear- 
ance of  constraint  in  the  sweet  inspiration  of  loving  obe- 
dience. He  has  a  fancy  which  delights  in  forms  of  beauty, 
and  he  contemplates  with  intense  rapture  the  starry  heav- 
ens, the  rolling  earth,  and  all  the  types  of  loveliness  and 
grandeur  which  are  impressed  upon  the  visible  things  of 
God ;  but  that  beauty  which  is  above  all,  from  which  all 
have  sprung,  and  to  which  all  point  as  to  their  centre,  his 
heart  has  never  caught  and  his  soul  has  never  adored. 
Nay,  without  the  most  strenuous  efforts  his  life  in  all  these 
spheres  is  prone  to  ceaseless  degradation.     Having  lost  the 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  329 

principle  which  gives  them  consistency,  he  is  constantly  prone 
to  lose  the  things  themselves.  In  everything  that  bears 
upon  the  true,  the  beautiful  and  the  good,  he  evinces  that 
there  is  a  something  within  him  which  cripples  and  retards 
and  perverts  his  efforts.  Holiness  is  spiritual  health  and 
strength,  and  where  that  is  gone  the  whole  action  of  the 
soul  is  morbid.  Hence,  the  liability  to  error,  the  influence 
of  prejudice,  the  misapprehension  of  the  true  method  and 
scope  of  philosophy,  are  confessions  that  man  has  fallen 
from  his  pristine  purity.  Depravity  impedes  all  the  nat- 
ural exercises  of  our  faculties ;  it  is  as  much  the  secret  of 
false  philosophy  as  of  false  religion.  It  is  the  disease,  the 
paralyzing  touch  of  sin,  that  makes  the  memory  treacherous, 
the  imagination  unchaste,  the  attention  inconstant,  the 
power  of  thought  unsteady,  reflection  painful  and  arduous, 
association  arbitrary,  and  the  fancy  the  storehouse  of  fleet- 
ing and  deceitful  images  of  good.  With  a  holy  faith  utterly 
gone — the  true  light  of  the  spiritual  firmament — man  gropes 
his  way  in  darkness,  relieved  by  the  glimmering  of  the  few 
stars  that  stud  his  natural  sky.  Without  God  he  cannot 
but  be  without  health  and  peace.  The  creature  mocks  him  ; 
he  mocks  himself;  he  walks  in  a  vain  show,  mistakes  dreams 
for  realities,  and  embraces  a  cloud  for  a  divinity. 

II.  Having  considered  original  sin,  both  in  its  nature  as 

a  habit  and  in  its  characteristics  as  the  total  destitution  of 

all  holiness  and  as  a  tendency  or  disposition  to  universal 

evil,  I  come  now  to  treat  of  the  mode  of  its  transmission, 

in  consequence  of  which  it  is  stvded  heredi- 

Hereditary  guilt.  _  *' 

tary  sin  or  hereditary  guilt.  It  is  handed 
down  from  j)arent  to  child  in  the  line  of  ordinary  gene- 
ration. Adam  after  his  fall  begat  a  son  in  his  own  moral 
likeness,  and  all  his  posterity  have  perpetuated  to  their 
descendants  the  character  which  began  with  him.  That 
the  notion  of  transmitted  or  hereditary  sin  is  beset  with 
difficulties  which  human  speculation  is  unable  to  sur- 
mount, it  were  folly  to  deny.  But  these  difficulties,  it 
should  be  remembered,  are  not  property  of  any  j^eculiar 

330  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

theory.  All  schemes  are  beset  with  them,  and  there  is  no 
method  of  escaping  them  but  by  plunging  into  the  greater 
difficulties  of  denying  facts  "which  form  a  part  and  parcel 
of  every  human  consciousness.  We  may  deny  that  human 
nature  is  perverted  from  its  normal  development ;  that  man 
is  failing  to  realize  the  idea  of  his  nature;  or  that  there 
exists  any  special  hindrance  to  the  formation  of  a  perfect 
character ;  but  the  conscience  of  every  human  being  not 
totally  dead  to  the  truth  and  import  of  moral  distinctions 
will  remonstrate  against  such  an  abuse  of  speculation.  Our 
Avisdom  is  to  look  at  the  flicts  precisely  as  they  are,  to  fol- 
low the  explanations  of  the  Scriptures  as  far  as  God  has 
thought  proper  to  resolve  our  perplexities,  and  what  still 
lies  unresolved  to  leave  where  we  found  it  until  we  reach 
an  elevation  of  greater  light. 

There  are  two  questions  with  which  we  have  to  deal  in 
treating  of  the  hereditary  character  of  origi- 
nal sin.  The  first  question  is  how  sin  is 
propagated — how  the  child  in  the  first  moment  of  its  ex- 
istence becomes  a  participant  of  natural  corruption,  with- 
out making  God  the  author  of  its  impurity.  The  second 
question  is,  how  that  which  is  inherited,  which  comes  to  us 
from  without  as  a  conditioning  cause  and  not  a  conditioned 
effect,  can  be  strictly  and  properly  regarded  as  sin — how,  as 
it  exists  in  us  independently  of  any  agency  of  ours,  it  can 
be  contemplated  with  moral  disapprobation  or  render  us 
personally  ill-deserving.  The  detailed  examination  of  these 
two  questions  will  lead  us  to  a  view  of  all  tlie  theories  which 
have  ever  been  proposed  on  this  vexed  subject;  and  if  it 
should  not  answer  all  objections  to  the  doctrine  of  the  Re- 
formed churches,  it  will  at  least  show  that  this  doctrine  is 
less  liable  to  exception  than  any  other  scheme. 

1.  In  relation  to  the  first  question,  one  class  of  writers 
seem  to  regard  it  as  a  complete  and  satis- 

Stapfer's  tlioory.  '^ .  i  i .  • 

factory  solution  to  say  that  like  begets  like. 
"  The  state  of  the  parents,"  says  Stapfer,*  "  is  morally  im- 
1  Vol.  i.,  p.  234,  chap,  iii.,  U  851,  853. 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL  SIN.  331 

perfect ;  of  a  state  morally  imperfect  a  perfect  state  Can  by 
no  means  be  the  consequence,  for  it  is  absolutely  impossible 
that  more  should  be  in  the  effect  than  in  the  cause.  It  fol- 
lows, therefore,  that  if  the  state  of  the  parents  is  morally  im- 
perfect, that  of  the  children  must  be  so  also,  otherwise  infants 
would  be  possessed  of  a  perfection  of  which  there  is  no  nat- 
ural cause."  "  As,  therefore,  the  connection  between  the 
moral  state  of  children  ah.d  their  parents  is  that  of  cause 
and  effect,  moral  imperfection  is  propagated  in  the  way  of 
natural  effect."  According  to  this  theory,  the  child  is  really 
the  product  of  the  parent — the  parent  the  efficient  cause  of 
its  existence.  The  parent  expresses  himself  in  the  child, 
because  the  child  is  potentially  included  in  him  as  a  part  of 
his  own  being.  But  in  what  sense  is  the  parent  the  cause, 
of  the  child  ?  Does  he  produce  by  a  conscious  exercise  of 
power  and  with  a  predetermined  reference  to  the  nature  of 
the  effect  to  be  achieved  ?  Can  he  fix  the  sex,  bodily  con- 
stitution or  personal  features  of  his  offspring?  Can  he 
determine  the  bias  or  extent  of  the  intellectual  capacities  ? 
Has  his  Will  anything  to  do  with  the  actual  shaping  and 
moulding  of  the  peculiarities  which  attach  to  the  foetus  ?  He 
is  in  no  other  sense  a  cause  than  as  an  act  of  his  constitutes 
the  occasion  upon  which  processes  of  nature  begin  entirely 
independently  of  his  will,  and  these  forces  or  laws  of  na- 
ture are  the  immediate  causes  of  the  origin,  growth  and  de- 
velopment of  the  child  in  the  womb.  He  simply  touches  a 
spring  which  sets  powers  at  work  that  he  can  neither  con- 
trol nor  modify.  He  is  only  a  link  in  a  chain  of  instru- 
ments through  which  God  calls  into  being;  and  the  efficient 
power  which  gives  rise  to  the  effect  is  not  in  him,  but  in 
that  great  Being  who  holds  all  the  forces  of  nature  in  His 
hands.  It  is,  therefore,  idle  to  say  that  the  father  makes 
the  child,  and  can  make  him  no  better  than  he  is  himself — 
that  he  puts  forth  all  his  causal  power,  but  as  that  is  limited 
the  results  must  bear  the  marks  of  the  limitation.  The 
relation  of  parents  to  children  is  not  that  of  cause  and  effect ; 
they  are  the  instruments  or  conditions  of  the  existence  of 

332  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

the  offspring,  but  God  may  use  an  instrument  to  achieve 
results  that  very  far  transcend  its  OAvn  nature  or  capacities. 

The  other  theories  which  we  shall  notice  admit  that  the 
causal  relation  of  the  parent  extends  only  to  the  body — that 
the  soul  is  immediately  created  by  God ;  and  contend  that 
as  created  by  Him  it  is  uncontaminated,  and  account  for 
its  subsequent  defilement  in  one  or  the  other  of  the  follow- 
ing ways  : 

Pictet^  supposes  that  the  mind  of  the  mother  during  her 
pregnancy  operates  upon  the  mind  of  the 

Pictet's  theory.  ,   .,  i  i     •  i  n^ 

child,  and  impresses  the  type  oi  lier  own 
sinful  thoughts ;  as  the  imagination  of  the  mother  very  fre- 
quently marks  the  body  of  her  offspring  with  representations 
of  the  objects  that  had  strongly  affected  herself.  From  this 
account  women  still  have  a  grievous  burden  to  bear — they 
are  not  only  the  authors  of  the  first  sin  that  was  ever  com- 
mitted, but  they  are  the  active  instruments  in  the  production 
of  all  the  sin  that  still  continues  to  afilict  the  world  !  They 
make  every  other  human  being  corrupt  as  they  seduced 
Adam  from  his  innocence !  But  seriously,  this  theory  is  only 
a  desperate  resort.  It  was  invented  to  save  the  consistency 
of  speculative  thought.  And  it  cannot  maintain  itself  with- 
out admitting  that  the  soul  is  not  created  in  its  primitive 
condition ;  it  admits  weakness  independently  of  the  mother, 
and  a  weakness  which  renders  corruption  absolutely  certain. 
How  God  is  vindicated  in  this  aspect  of  the  case  it  is  hard 
to  understand. 

The  other  explanation  is  that  of  Turrettin  and  Edwards, 
who  contend  that  the  soul  is  created  spot- 
Jtnl  andEdwlIr"     less,  yet  it  is  destitute  of  original  righteous- 
ness as  a  punishment  of  Adam's  first  sin ; 
and   accordingly  they  distinguish  between   a   soul's  being 
pure,  so  as  the  soul  of  Adam  was  when  it  was  first  created — 
that  is  to  say,  not  only  sinless,  but  having  habits  or  inclina- 
tions in  its  nature  which  inclined  it  to  what  was  good — and 
its  being  created  with  a  propensity  or  inclination  to  evil  .  .  . 
*  Pictel,  vol.  i.,  p.  446,  seq. 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  333 

and  as  a  medium  between  both  those  extremes  in  which  the 
truth  lies,  they  observe  that  tlie  soul  is  created  by  God  des- 
titute of  original  righteousness,  unable  to  do  what  is  truly 
good,  and  yet  having  no  positive  inclination  or  propensity 
in  nature  to  what  is  evil.^ 

Upon  this  theory  the  notion  of  original  guilt  is  su]5posed 
to  involve  no  difficulty,  but  only  the  notion  of  original  cor- 
ruption. It  is  taken  for  granted  that  there  is  no  contradic- 
tion to  God's  holiness  in  treating  a  being  as  a  sinner  who 
has  never  sinned,  but  there  is  a  contradiction  to  His  holiness 
in  making  him  a  sinner.  But  where  is  the  difference  ?  Sup- 
pose the  being  as  coming  from  the  hands  of  God  is  in  fact 
spotless,  how  can  he  be  treated  as  a  sinner  ?  If  not  treated 
as  a  sinner,  then  there  is  no  guilt ;  and  if  no  guilt,  then  no 
need  of  withholding  original  righteousness. 

In  the  next  place,  to  be  destitute  of  original  righteousness 
is  sin.  That  a  moral,  rational  and  accountable  beina;  should 
exist  without  a  disposition  to'  love  God  and  to  reverence 
His  holy  law  is  itself  to  be  in  a  positively  unholy  state. 
Want  of  conformity  with  the  moral  law  is  as  truly  sin  as 
open  and  flagrant  transgression.  When  these  very  men  are 
arguing  against  i\\Q  doctrine  of  the  Papists,  they  insist  upon 
the  impossibility  of  an  intermediate  condition  betwixt  sin 
and  holiness ;  and  yet  when  they  wish  to  explain  the  mode 
of  propagation  of  sin,  they  distinguish  between  simple  nature 
and  the  moral  qualities  which  perfect  and  adorn  it,  I  do 
not  see,  therefore,  that  this  theory  obviates  any  difficulty  at 

Suppose  we  should  say  that  the  principle  of  representation 
conditions  the  creation  of  the  child  in  sin,  that  God  gives 
him  a  being  according  to  the  determinations  which  the  Cove- 
nant of  Works  requires,  does  that  make  God  any  more  the 
author  of  sin  than  His  daily  and  hourly  conservation  of  sin- 
ners ?  If  they  are  to  be  at  all,  they  must  be  sinners,  because 
they  are  guilty  in  their  federal  head — they  exist  in  the  Di- 

1  See  Edwards  on  Original  Sin,  p.  330,  seq. ;  also  Turrettin,  Loc.  ix., 
Qu.  12,  \  8,  9,  as  quoted  in  Eidgley,  vol.  ii.,  p.  131,  upon  Question  xxvi. 

334  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

vine  mind  as  sinners.     What  contradiction,  therefore,  is  there 
in  realizing  this  decree  of  justice  ?     I  confess  that  to  me  the 

whole  difficulty  lies  in  what  to  these  di- 
liefwir'niputauol!^     viucs  prescuts  no  difficulty  at  all— in  the 

imputation  of  guilt.  Grant  that,  and  justice 
then  demands,  first,  that  men  should  exist,  and  secondly, 
that  they  should  exist  as  sinners — that  they  should  exist  in 
an  abnormal  and  perverted  condition.  Why  should  not  God 
fulfil  this  requirement  of  justice?  But  it  may  be  safest  to 
treat  the  whole  matter  as  an  insoluble  mystery.  We  know 
the  fact  that  ^ye  are  born  into  the  world  in  a  state  of  sin 
and  misery ;  that  we  inherit  from  our  parents  a  nature  which 
is  wholly  destitute  of  original  righteousness,  and  contains  the 
ground  of  the  most  grievous  departures  from  God — a  nature 
which  is  absolutely  unable  to  compass  a  single  holy  exercise. 
Whether  our  being  is  wholly  derived  from  our  parents, 
whether  our  souls  are  immediately  created  by  God,  whether 
defilement  is  consequent  upon  the  union  with  the  body,  or 
the  result  of  the  generating  act,  or  of  the  imagination  of  the 
mother,  or  of  any  other  cause,  it  may  be  bootless  to  inquire. 
And  on  this  subject  the  Reformed  Church  has  settled  nothing 
as  the  definite  revelation  of  God. 

2.  The  question  which  we  have  now  to  discuss  is,  how 
that  moral  condition  in  which  we  are  born,  and  which  has 
been  propagated  to  us  independently  of  our  own  wills,  can  be 
truly  and  properly  regarded  as  sin ;  how  that  can  be  im- 

inited  to  us  as  guilt  which  we  have  inher- 

The  flifficulty  stated.        T      ,  ,  .         .  „ 

ited  as  the  constitution  of  our  nature,  and 
not  determined  by  the  free  decision  of  our  own  personality. 
Guilt  presupposes  causation  by  the  agent — that  he  is  the 
author  of  the  actions  or  of  the  dispositions  for  which  he  is 
held  responsible.  "  In  the  notion  of  sin,"  as  Miiller^  very 
justly  observes,  "  lies  only  the  objective,  namely  the  exist- 
ence of  a  fact,  whether  it  be  an  act  or  condition  contradic- 
tory to  the  Divine  M'ill ;  with  the  idea  of  guilt  arises  the  sub- 
jective side,  an  author  to  whom  it  can  be  imputed."  Hence, 
'  Vol.  i.,  p.  208. 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  335 

as  he  had  previously  stated,  "  the  first  element  in  the  notion 
of  guilt  is  this,  that  the  given  sin  must  be  ascribed  to  the 
man  in  whom  it  is,  as  to  its  author."  The  notion  of  cau- 
sality as  lying  at  the  root  of  the  notion  of  guilt  he  does  not 
fail  to  notice  as  signalized  by  the  Greek  term  for  guilt,  which 
has  also  the  general  signification  of  cause.  It  would  seem, 
therefore,  that  where  a  given  condition  cannot  be  traced  to 
him  in  Avhom  it  is  found  as  its  cause,  where  he  receives  it  as 
a  datum,  and  has  neither  directly  nor  indirectly  procured  it 
by  his  own  agency,  he  cannot  possibly  be  subject  to  the  im- 
putation of  guilt.  Objectively  considered,  the  state  in  ques- 
tion may  have  all  the  qualitative  features  of  sin,  it  may  be 
materially  the  stain  and  the  blot,  but,  subjectively  consid- 
ered, the  man  is  rather  a  patient  than  an  agent,  rather  suf- 
fers than  does  evil,  and  his  condition  accordingly  is  one  of 
calamity  and  affliction,  and  not  of  sin.  The  difficulty  is 
very  pointedly  put  byMiiller:^  "Only  a  personal  essence, 
and  not  a  mere  creature  of  nature,  can  render  itself  a  sub- 
ject of  guilt.  This  arises  from  the  fact  that  only  a  personal 
essence  is  able  to  be  the  real  author  of  its  actions  and  states, 
so  that  they  may  be  imputed  to  it.  Where  there  is  no  per- 
sonality, consequently  no  freedom  of  the  will  whatever,  there 
the  power  of  an  original  self-determination  is  wanting ;  that 
which  here  appears  as  a  self-determining,  if  traced  into  its 
true  causes,  resolves  itself  into  a  being  determined.  Accord- 
ingly, actions  and  states  can  only  in  so  far  be  considered  as 
criminal  as  they  have  their  ultimate,  deciding  ground  in 
the  self-determination  of  the  subject.  If,  on  the  contrary, 
the  subject  is  in  them  merely  the  transition  point  for  deter- 
minations which  it  receives  from  another  power,  whether  it 
be  a  power  of  nature  or  a  personal  one,  then  these  his  states 
and  activities  are  not  his  fault,  unless  that  by  some  preced- 
ing self-determination  he  had  rendered  himself  open  to  the 
power  of  such  determining  influence  upon  him.  Now,  the 
dogma  of  original  sin  teaches  that  the  iurooted  sinfulness, 
which  according  to  the  canon.  Semper  cum  raalo  origlnall  simul 
1  Vol.  ii.,  p.  340. 

336  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

sunt  peceata  actuaUa,  necessarily  produces  all  kinds  of  sin, 
is  in  us  according  to  its  universal,  everywhere  equal  nature, 
solely  as  the  consequence  of  the  first  sin  of  the  parents  of 
our  race.  But  if  this  sinfulness  is  in  us  solely  by  the  action 
of  other  individuals  without  our  own  aid,  then  it  cannot  be 
imputed  to  us  as  its  authors,  but  only  to  those  individuals ; 
it  is  then  in  us  not  as  guilt,  but  solely  as  evil  and  calamity. 
Moreover,  in  all  the  actual  sins  which  arise  out  of  this  sin- 
fulness, it  is  not  strictly  speaking  w'e  wdio  act,  but  the  first 
of  mankind  by  us ;  but  how"  then  should  our  apparent 
action  still  be  real  sin  on  account  of  which  we  may  become 
reprobated  ?" 

Such    is   the  difficulty.      Perhaps   the  most  satisfactory 
method  of  aj)proaching  the  solution,  will 

Is     hereditary    de-       i  n      j.     j.        '  •  'xi-l  j.*  I» 

pravity  really  sin?  ^C,    first,    tO    lUqUirC    DltO    the     qUCStlOU     of 

fact  whether  hereditary  depravity  is  or  is 
not  really  sin — that  is,  is  or  is  not  damnable  in  the  sight  of 
God.     Does  it  make  a  man  guilty  of  death  ? 

The  Papists  are  reluctant  to  condemn  it  as-  chargeable 
with  guilt,  especially  as  it  manifests  itself  in  the  involuntary 
excitations  of  the  regenerate.  Its  first  motions  in  them  they 
do  not  represent  as  sin,  but  only  the  encouragement  which  is 
given  by  the  will  to  these  irregular  impulses.     Bellarmin^ 

indeed  admits   that   concupiscence  is  non- 

Bellarmin's  views.  ,  .iii  n.-i^i 

conformity  with  the  law,  and  sin,  if  these 
words  be  taken  largely  and  improperly,  as  every  vice  and 
departure  from  rule  and  order,  not  only  in  manners,  but  also 
in  nature  and  art,  may  be  called  sin.  But  in  a  strict  and 
proper  sense  the  determinations  of  sin  cannot  be  applied  to 
the  yet  unsanctified  nature  of  those  who  have  been  renewed 
by  baptism.  "  We  assert,"  says  he,  "  that  corruption  of  na- 
ture or  concupiscence,  such  as  remains  in  the  regenerate  after 
baptism,  is  not  original  sin,  not  only  because  it  is  not  im- 
puted, but  because  it  cannot  be  imputed,  since  it  is  not  in  its 
own  nature  sin."     And  the  Council  of  Trent  declares  that  it 

^  De  Amiss.  Grat.,  lib.  v.,  cap.  xiv.  Controv.,  torn,  iv.,  cap.  vii.  De 
Moor,  cap.  xv.,  §  xxiii. 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL  SIX.  337 

is,  in  the  Scripture,  called  sin,  not  because  it  is  sin,  but  be- 
cause it  springs  from  sin  and  leads  to  sin :  Ex  peccato  est  et 
ad  peccatum  indinat.     The  Remonstrants  in  their  Apology 
articulately  maintain  "  that  original  sin  is 

The  Eenioiistrants.  "^         _  ° 

not  to  be  considered  sin  in  the  sense  that  it 
renders  the  race  unworthy  of  the  Divine  favour,  or  exposes 
them  to  punishment  in  the  strict  and  proper  sense,  as  con- 
tradistinguished from  calamity ;  but  it  is  to  be  viewed  only 
as  evil,  infirmity,  misfortune — it  brings  with  it  no  guilt." 
^ .  ^    ,  Limborch,^  one  of  the  most  learned  of  the 


Remonstant  divines,  repeatedly  enounces 
the  doctrine  that  what  is  natural  cannot  be  sinful,  and  that 
the  imbecility  under  which  the  posterity  of  Adam  labours,  and 
which,  he  thinks,  has  been  grievously  exaggerated  by  the 
Reformed  theologians,  cannot  be  properly  associated  with 
the  notion  of  guilt.  He  admits  that  human  nature  has  been 
injured  by  the  fell;  that  we  are  born  with  appetites  less 
pure  than  those  of  our  first  parents ;  that  there  is  a  stronger 
inclination  to  evil,  in  consequence  of  which  Ave  are  seduced 
into  sin  with  less  provocation ;  but  still  he  maintains  that 
this  concupiscence,  in  as  far  as  it  is  natural,  and  not  a  habi- 
tude contracted  by  our  own  voluntary  acts,  cannot  be  pro- 
perly denominated  sin.  The  fundamental  position  of  the 
Arminian  school,  that  ability  is  the  measure  of  duty,  neces- 
sitates this  conclusion.  Whatever  has  not  freely  originated 
from  ourselves  cannot  be  imputed  to  ourselves;  it  is  not 
ours,  but  must  be  attributed  to  the  cause  which  really  deter- 
^  .    ,  mined  it.     The  language  of  Zwino-le,^  too, 

Zwingle.  ^  o       o  &      ?  ) 

however  it  has  been  attempted  to  explain 
away  its  obvious  import,  conveys  the  same  idea.  He  styles 
original  sin  as  a  disease,  and  not  as  strictly  and  properly  sin. 
™,  „  ,       , ,.  .  On  the  other  hand,  the  Reformed  divines 

Tlie  Reformed  divines.  _  ' 

have  uniformly  maintained  that  the  de- 
praved condition  in  which  all  the  descendants  of  Adam  are 
born  is  not  only  the  fruitful  parent  of  sin,  but  is  in  its  own 
nature  sin,  and  makes  the  man  truly  guilty  before  God.     It 

1  Limborch,  lib.  iii.,  c.  3,  H-  ^  De  Moor,  cap.  sv.,  |  xxiii. 

Vol.  I.— 22 

338  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XTIT. 

is  itself  damnable  iu  its    being,  motions  and  ret^ults,  and 

without  any  actual  transgression  is  a  just  ground  of  exclusion 

from  the  favour  of  God.     This  conclusion 

Testimony     of    the        •  n  .•ni,i  ,,•  p 

Scriptures.  ^^  equally  sustained  by  the    testnnony  oi 

Scripture  and  the  authority  of  conscience. 
It  is  admitted  by  Bellarmin  and  the  Council  of  Trent  that 
the  word  of  God  pronounces  it  to  be  sin.  The  whole  argu- 
ment in  the  seventh  chapter  of  Romans  proceeds  upon  the 
supposition  not  only  that  it  is  evil,  calamity,  misfortune,  but 
that  it  is  guilt ;  that  it  makes  a  man  damnable — the  subject 
of  the  righteous  retribution  of  death.  The  declaration  of 
Paul  in  his  Epistle  to  the  Ephesians,  that  we  are  by  nature 
the  children  of  wrath,  can  by  no  possibility  be  evaded.  We 
are  there  expressly  said  to  be  under  the  condemnation  of 
God,  on  account  of  the  condition  in  which  we  are  born. 
David,  too,  aggravates  the  guilt  of  his  actual  sin,  in  the  fifty- 
first  Psalm,  by  tracing  it  back  to  the  sinful  principles  which 
he  inherited  from  his  mother's  womb.  The  whole  treatment 
of  our  natural  condition  in  the  New  Testament  is  grounded 
in  the  notion  that  it  is  a  state  of  guilt ;  that  our  imbecility 
is  blameworthy ;  and  that  it  has  to  be  dealt  with  not  as 
disease,  but  as  moral  perversion  and  disorder.  All  the  pro- 
visions of  grace  imply  this,  or  are  utterly  unintelligible. 

Then,  again,  if  the  Scripture  definitions  of  sin  are  to  be 
Argument  from  maintained,  they  cannot  but  include  our 
Scripture  definitious  native  corruptiou.  It  surely  is  want  of 
conformity  with  the  law.  It  is  the  very 
defect  which  the  law  stigmatizes  as  the  form  of  sin.  Wher- 
ever there  is  not  conformity,  there  is  and  must  be  sin  in  a 
subject  capable  of  obedience.  The  man  who  is  not  what  he 
ought  to  be,  or  who  is  what  he  ought  not  to  be,  the  Bible 
uniformly  treats  as  a  sinner,  and  takes  for  granted  that  in 
some  way  or  other  the  blame  must  be  ultimately  visited  upon 
himself.  It  knows  nothing  of  a  non-conformity  which  is 
innocent.  It  assumes  that  the  fact  must  always  be  grounded 
in  guilt. 

In  the  third  place,  if  original  corruption  were  not  sin,  it 

Lect.  XIII.]  OEIGINAL   SIN.  339 

would  be  difficult  to  explain  how  the  acts  to  which  it  excites, 
and  which  are  only  the  outward  expressions 
from  Scripture^"'"''"  ^'^  itself,  could  bc  Considered  sinful.  If  the 
original  imjjulse  is  innocent,  how  can  its 
gratification  be  sin  ?  How  can  its  motions  and  excitations 
undergo  a  change  in  their  own  nature  in  consequence  of  their 
being  humoured  or  encouraged  ?  There  is  surely  no  harm 
in  yielding  to  the  suggestions  of  innocent  impulses.  The 
Saviour  teaches  us  to  judge  of  the  tree  by  its  fruits.  When 
the  fruits  are  good,  the  tree  is  good.  The  Arminian  tells  us 
that  all  trees  are  in  themselves  good,  but  that  some  are  un- 
fortunately afflicted  Avith  evil  fruits ;  yet  that  the  evil  is 
only  in  the  fruit. 

In  the  last  place,  original  sin  is  certainly  visited  with 
death,   and  if  death   be  the  exponent  of 

A  fourth  argument  'ixj.!  ••!•  .  i         •,  ^ 

from  Scripture  gui^*^  ^lien  Original  sm  must  make  its  sub- 

ject guilty. 
Our  own  consciences  are  equally  explicit  with  the  Scrip- 
tures. They  condemn  the  dis230sitions  and 
habitudes  which  are  grounded  in  our  na- 
ture as  the  very  core  of  the  sinfulness 
which  appears  in  our  life.  It  is  the  malice,  the  hardness 
of  heart,  the  insensibility,  the  unbelief,  which  cleave  to  us 
as  the  legacy  of  birth,  which  constitute  the  very  life  of  our 
wickedness.  The  disposition  or  principle  determines  the 
moral  significancy  of  the  act ;  the  state  of  mind  which  lies 
at  the  root  of  the  will  conditions  the  degree  of  guilt  which 
attaches  to  the  act.  The  awakened  sinner  is  particularly 
struck  with  the  appalling  wickedness  involved  in  the  fixed, 
abiding  condition  of  his  soul.  His  attention  may  first  be 
arrested  by  his  transient  acts,  but  under  the  guidance  of  the 
Spirit  he  is  soon  led  to  inspect  the  moral  attitude  of  his 
heart,  and  to  pronounce  the  sentence  of  the  prophet,  "  the 
heart  is  deceitful  above  all  things  and  desperately  wicked." 
Conscience  condemns  us,  then,  for  what  we  are  no  less  un- 
equivocally than  for  what  we  do.  We  cannot,  therefore, 
evade  the  conclusion  that  native  corruption  is  sin ;  that  it 

Testimony    of    our 
own  conscience. 

340  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

carries  with  it  exposure  to  the  Divine  condemnation ;  that 
it  ends  in  death.  Scripture  and  conscience  cannot  tolerate 
the  palliatives  of  a  deceitful  philosophy ;  they  know  noth- 
ing of  a  heart  destitute  of  love  to  God  as  only  unfortunate 
and  not  criminal,  and  they  never  deal  with  unbelief  as  in- 
firmity, but  not  guilt.  Both,  in  directing  us  to  look  at  our 
nature,  stop  our  mouths  and  compel  us  to  acknowledge  that 
we  deserve  to  die. 

It  is  an  important  point  to  have  clearly  settled  in  the 

These  testimonies     J^i"^^  ^^^^^  Original  siu  is  accompauied  with 

prove   that  original     il]  dcscrt.     It  establishes  beyond  the  possi- 

sin  involves  guilt.  m-i-  /»iii  •  i 

sibility  ot  doubt  that  m  some  way  or  other 
we  must  be  the  responsible  authors  of  it.  Conscience  in 
condemning  us  as  guilty  on  account  of  it,  and  the  Word  of 
God  in  ratifying  that  sentence,  pronounce  us  at  the  same 
time  to  be  the  voluntary  cause  of  its  existence.  Other- 
wise there  would  be  a  palpable  contradiction.  Even  if  it 
were  granted  that  we  are  utterly  unable  to  detect  the  causal 
relation,  if  it  eludes  our  closest  scrutiny,  if  the  result  of  all 
philosophical  inquiry  gives  only  the  appearance  of  our  being 
absolutely  conditioned  by  a  foreign  agency, — still,  we  should 
not  be  authorized  to  contradict  a  fundamental  deliverance 
of  conscience  on  account  of  our  inability  to  apprehend  the 
grounds  of  its  truth.  It  must  be  assumed  as  unquestion- 
able, whether  we  can  explain  it  or  not.  Its  voice  is  final, 
whether  we  can  understand  the  reason  of  its  verdict  or  not. 
If  conscience  says  that  we  are  guilty  on  account  of  our 
native  turpitude,  that  is  a  declaration  that  we  stand  in  a 
personal  relation  to  it  which  makes  it  justly  imputable  to 
us  as  our  fault.     We  have  in  some  way  or  other  procured 

it.  Now  the  question  arises,  How  and 
procured?  ^^^  ^'^^ '      when  ?     It  is  perfectly  clear  that  if  it  must 

be  ascribed  to  us,  it  must  either  be  in  con- 
sequence of  some  voluntary  act  of  ours  or  in  consequence  of 
the  voluntary  act  of  another  that  can  be  justly  construed  as 
ours.  A  sinful  state  can  only  spring  from  a  sinful  act.  It 
is  always  the  penal  visitation  of  transgression.      Original 

Lect.  xiil]  original  sin.  341 

sill,  therefore,  as  a  permanent,  abiding  condition  mnst  be 
penal,  as  Augustin  and  the  Reformers  persistently  assert,  or 
it  cannot  be  sin  at  all.  The  sinful  act  which  produced  it 
must  have  been  the  personal  decision  of  each  human  will — 
that  is,  each  man  must  have  fallen  by  his  own  personal 
transgression — or  it  must  be  the  act  of  another  so  related  to 
us  as  that  we  may  be  held  accountable  for 

Only    two    supposi-       •,         npi  •  xi  •     i 

tions  possible.  ^^-     J-^^ere  IS  no  third  supposition   possi- 

ble— no  medium  betwixt  our  own  act  and 
the  act  of  another. 

Shall  we  say,  then,  that  each  man  fell  for  himself?     That 

would  necessitate  the  notion  of  a  state  of  existence  prior  to 

our  birth  in  this  world ;    of  an  ante-mun- 

Ante-mundane  pro-        i  ij-  •  i-i  n  •■!     -i  -i 

batiou.  dane    probation    m  which  we  failed,  and 

the  consequence  of  w^hich  is  the  disordered 
condition  in  which  we  find  ourselves  beginnino;  our  earthlv 
life.  There  have  been  intrepid  logicians  who  have  reso- 
lutely followed  up  the  datum  of  conscience  in  relation  to 
the  guilt  of  original  sin,  and  have  found  in  it  the  unquali- 
fied assertion  that  we  lived,  moved  and  willed  before  we 
were  born.  The  reasoning  is  short  and  apparently  decisive. 
Our  nature  is  sinful ;  it  could  not  have  been  made  so  with- 
out our  act ;  that  act  which  corrupted  the  nature  could  not 
have  taken  place  in  time,  for  the  corruption  begins  with  our 
life  in  time ;  there  must,  therefore,  have  been  a  transcendent 
existence  in  which  this  indispensable  prerequisite  of  original 
sin  was  realized. 

There  are  many  phenomena  connected  with  our  present 
mundane  life  Avhicli  the  deepest  thinkers  have  felt  them- 
selves unable  to  comprehend  without  the  supposition  of  a 
pre-existent  state.     Pythagoras,  it  is  well 

Pythagoras.  |  i       i       i  ^  O  7 

known,  looked  upon  the  present  as  a  penal 
condition  to  which  we  were  degraded  for  our  abuse  of  a 
higher  and  nobler  state.     Plato  felt  him- 
self  equally  at  a  loss  to  explain  the  pheno- 
mena of  knowledge  or  of  sin  Avithout  the  same  presuppo- 

342  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

sition.     Origen  could  find  satisfaction  in  dealing  with  the 
delivei'ances  of  the  human  conscience,  and 

Origen.  ,  ...  .  .  r-   o      •  i 

the  explicit  testimonies  oi  fecripture,  only 
by  adopting  the  same  hypothesis.     "  Kant,  despairing  of 
finding  liberty  anywhere  in  the  iron  chain 
of  motive  and  action  as  stretching  from  the 
beginning  to  the  end  of  our  empirical  existence,  sought  it  in 
the  higher  world  of  the  unconditioned ;  and 
Schelling,   as  early  as    1809,  in  his  cele- 
brated essay  on  Freedom,  in  which  he  traced  sin  to  a  prin- 
ciple of  darkness  existing  in  God,  and  uniting  itself  with 
the  free-will  of  man,  expressly  declared  that  original  sin 
was  committed  by  every  man  before  his  temporal  being,  and 
drew  all  the  sins  of  life  after  it  with  rigorous  necessity. 
Life  was  ]:)0und,  but  it  was  bound  by  an  antecedent  act  of 
liberty,  and  thus  the  intuitions  of  conscience  were  defended 
by  a  bulwark  too  high  for  the  reach  of  skepticism,  and  free- 
will stood  invincible  with  its  back  to  the  wall  of  eternity,"^ 
Miiller,  in    his    great  work  on   Sin,  finds 
himself  driven  by  the  exigencies  of  con- 
sistent speculation  to  a  timeless  state  in  which  each  man  by 
his  own  free  act  conditioned  his  moral  development  in  time. 
But  there  are  insuperable  objections  to  such  a  scheme. 
In  the  first  place,  the  notion  of  a  timeless 
,:::J::^:^1     existence    is   Itself    utterly   unintelligible. 
Every  finite  being  is  conditioned,  and  con- 
ditioned both  by  time  and  space,  and  an  intelligible  world 
of  real  substantive  existences  without  temporal  relations  is 
altogether  contradictory. 

In  the  next  place,  it  is  wholly  unaccountable  how  such  a 
state,  signalized  by  so  momentous  an  act  as  that  which  pro- 
duced original  depravity,  has  so  entirely  passed  from  the 
memory  as  to  leave  no  trace  behind.  Surely,  if  anything 
had  impressed  itself  upon  our  minds,  such  a  condition,  so 
different  from  the  present  and  so  fruitful  in  its  consequences, 
could  not  have  failed  to  be  remembered.  If  there  had  been 
1  North  British  Kev.,  1850. 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL   SIN.  343 

such  a  state,  the  Scriptures  woukl  not  only  have  recognized 
it,  but  pressed  it  upon  us  as  a  full  vindication  of  the  justice 
of  God  in  His  dealings  with  the  race.  The  recollection  of 
this  primitive  act  of  freedom  would  have  silenced  all  cavils, 
stopped  every  mouth,  and  explained  to  every  human  soul 
how  and  when  it  became  the  author  of  its  own  ruin. 

But  the  doctrine  is  palpably  inconsistent  with  the  Scrip- 
ture account  concerning  the  origin  of  the 

Totally  inconsistent       i  •  i     ,  i  i  t  , .  . 

with  Scripture.  numau  species,  and  the  moral  condition  m 

which  the  first  of  the  race  began  his  mun- 
dane  being.  We  must  look  for  that  act  which  entails  our 
depravity  in  the  sphere  of  time  and  in  the  sphere  of  temporal 
conditions.  We  cannot  carry  human  existence  beyond 
Adam,  nor  Adam's  existence  beyond  that  creative  fiat 
which  gave  him  his  being  on  the  sixth  day.  Then  and 
there  the  species  began  and  began  holy.  The  Scriptures 
further  inform  us  when  and  where  and  how  he  lost  his  in- 
tegrity. From  the  time  of  his  disobedience  in  the  garden 
in  eating  the  forbidden  fruit  he  and  all  the  race  have  borne 
the  type  of  sin.  There  has  been  no  holiness  in  the  species 
from  that  hour  to  this  unless  as  supernaturally  produced  by 
the  grace  of  God.  It  would  seem,  therefore,  that  the  all- 
conditioning  act  which  has  shaped  the  moral  impress  of  the 
race  was  no  other  than  the  act  which  lost  to  Adam  the  image 
of  his  God.  And  such  seems  to  be  the  explicit  testimony 
of  Scripture :  "  By  one  man's  disobedience  many  were  made 
sinners."  Either  we  are  guilty  of  that  act,  tlierefore,  or 
original  corruption  in  us  is  simply  misfortune  and  not  sin. 
In  some  way  or  other  it  is  ours,  justly  imputable  to  us,  or 
we  are  not  and  cannot  be  born  the  children  of  wrath.  We 
must  contradict  every  Scripture  text  and  every  Scripture 
doctrine  which  makes  hereditary  impurity  hateful  to  God 
and  punishable  in  His  sight,  or  we  must  maintain  that  we 
sinned  in  Adam  in  his  first  transgression.  There  human 
sin  historically  began.  Before  that  time  the  sijecies  was 
holy ;  since  that  time  there  has  been  none  that  doeth  good, 
no,  not  one.     That,  therefore,  is  the  decisive  act — that  was 

344  ORIGINAL   SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

tlic  point  on  which  the  destinies  of  the  race  turned.  Btit 
the  question  arises,  How  could  that  act  have  been  ours  in 
such  a  sense  as  to  justify  the  imputation  of  guilt?  What 
causal  agency  could  we  possibly  have  had  in  bringing  it 
about  ?  Was  Adam  ourselves,  or  were  ourselves  Adam,  or 
Our  relation  to  Adam  could  wc  and  hc  bc  personally  ouc  ?  Let 
as  a  ground  for  impu-     ^g  look  at  our  relation  to  him,  and  see  if 

we  can  find  anything  in  which  to  ground 
the  notion  of  our  participating  in  the  guilt  of  his  trans- 

In  the  first  place,  he  was  the  natural  head  of  his  posterity 

— the  father  of  all  mankind.     But  the  act 

Adam   our    natural  t}  j.   •  j.  l  j.1  x      l" 

,jp,^j,  01  a  parent  is  not  by  any  means  the  act  oi 

the  child.  If  the  parental  relation,  such  as 
it  now  obtains  in  the  species,  exhausted  Adam's  relations  to 
the  race,  it  would  be  impossible  to  explain  how  they  could 
be  guilty  on  account  of  his  sin,  or  why  they  should  be  guilty 
on  account  of  the  first  sin  xather  than  any  other.  Even  if  it 
were  granted  that  as  a  father  he  must  propagate  his  own 
moral  features,  his  children  would  receive  them  simply  as  a 
nature,  without  being  blamable  on  account  of  them,  as  a 
child  might  innocently  inherit  a  distorted  body  which  the 
parent  had  brought  upon  himself  by  guilt.  The  natural  re- 
lation is,  therefore,  wholly  incompetent  to  bear  the  load  of 
hereditary  sin.  There  must  be  something  more  than  parent 
and  child  in  the  case.  It  is  vain  to  appeal  to  those  analogies 
in  which  the  offspring  share  in  the  sufferings  incurred  by  the 
wickedness  of  their  fathers.  The  offspring  indeed  suffer, 
but  they  do  not  charge  themselves  with  blame — they  have 
no  sense  of  ill  desert.  They  look  upon  their  sufferings  dis- 
tinctly as  calamities,  and  not  as  punishments  to  them,  though 
they  may  be  punishments  of  their  fathers  through  them. 
In  the  next  place,  Adam  was  the  federal  liead  or  repre- 
sentative of  his  race.  He  was  on  probation 
head'''"  ""■"  '''""''  for  them,  as  well  as  for  himself,  in  the 
Covenant  of  Works.  He  was  not  a  private 
individual — he  was  the  type  of  universal    humanity.     In 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL  SIX.  345 

him  God  was  dealing  witli  all  who  should  afterward  spring 
from  his  loins.  Now,  that  he  sustained  this  relation  is  clear 
from  the  explicit  testimony  of  the  Scriptures ;  and  that  it, 
if  justly  founded,  is  adequate  to  solve  the  problem  of  hered- 
itary guilt,  is  beyond  dispute.  If  Adam  were  the  agent  of 
us  all,  his  act  was  legally  and  morally  ours.  Qui  factt  per 
alium,  fac'd  jjer  se. 

The  only  question  is.  Whether   this   federal  relation   is 
founded    in    justice?     We    have    already 

Is   this   founded  in  j.i      x    j.1  •        •     ^       •  i?    1 

•  jgjj^gj  seen  that  the  principle  is  one  ot   benevo- 

lence, and  furnishes  the  only  hope  for  the 
absolute  safety  of  any  portion  of  mankind.  Without  this 
principle,  the  whole  race  might  have  perished  without  the 
possibility  of  redemption.  But  its  benevolent  tendencies 
are  no  proof  of  its  essential  justice.  Can  we  vindicate  it 
upon  principles  of  reason?  Is  there  any  such  union  in  the 
nature  of  things  betwixt  Adam  and  his  descendants  as  to 
justify  a  constitution  in  which  he  and  they  are  judicially 
treated  as  one  ?     An  affirmative  answer  has 

Two  grounds.  . 

been  given  on  two  grounds:    1.    I  hat  oi 
generic  unity ;  and  2.  That  of  a  Divine  constitution. 

If  a  fundamental  unity  subsisted  betwixt  Adam  and  his 
species,  it  is  clear  that  he  could  be  justly 
fuIdamel'tTunUy. ""  ^Icalt  with  as  the  federal  head  or  represent- 
ative of  the  race.  He  was  the  race,  and 
therefore  could  fairly  be  treated  as  the  race.  What  he  did, 
it  did ;  his  act  was  the  act  of  Mankind,  and  his  fall  was  the 
fall  of  ]Man.  There  was  no  fiction  of  law ;  there  was  no  ar- 
bitrary arrangement  when  he  was  made  the  representative 
of  all  who  were  to  descend  from  him  by  ordinary  generation. 
There  was  a  real  and  an  adequate  foundation  in  nature  for 
that  covenant  under  which  he  was  put  upon  trial,  not  only 
for  himself,  but  for  all  his  posterity. 

Relation  of  the  fed-  HcrC,  toO,  WC  SCC  thc  prCcisC   rclatioU    of 

era!  to  the   natural     tlic  federal  aud  natural  union  betwixt  Adam 

and  the  race.     The  federal  presupposes  the 

natural.     The  federal  is  the  public  recognition  of  the  fact 

346  ORIGINAL  SIX.  [Lect.  XIII. 

implied  in  the  natural,  and  is  a  scheme  or  dispensation  of 
religion  founded  upon  it.  If  there  were  not  a  real  unity 
betwixt  Adam  and  the  race,  the  covenant  of  works  could  not, 
by  an  arbitrary  constitution,  treat  them  as  one.  In  the  no- 
tion of  a  generic  identity  of  human  nature,  both  ideas  blend 
into  one.  Adam's  sin  becomes  imj)utable,  and  as  guilt  in 
him  becomes  the  parent  of  depravity  in  them.  Hence,  in 
the  order  of  thought,  his  sin  must  always  be  conceived  as 
imputed  before  they  can  be  conceived  as  depraved.  They 
must  be  regarded  as  guilty  before  they  can  reap  the  penal 
consequence  of  guilt. 

By  this  doctrine  of  imputation  the  testimony  of  conscience 
is   completely  harmonized.     It   makes    us 

The  testimony  of  con-  .  t  .,  ,i  i^      i^ 

science  harmonized.  recogmze  our  dcpravity  as  the  result  of  our 
own  voluntary  act;  it  was  our  voluntary 
act  in  the  sense  in  which  Adam  and  we  were  one.  It  makes 
us  pronounce  ourselves  guilty  on  account  of  the  corrujition 
of  our  nature,  and  to  the  extent  of  our  participation  in  the 
generic  character  of  the  race  we  are  blameworthy.  We 
are  responsible  for  this  as  we  are  responsible  for  every  habit 
contracted  by  our  own  voluntary  acts. 

The  only  point  in  which  this  explanation  fails  to  give 
satisfaction  is  in  relation  to  the  question  whether  the  notion 
of  generic  unity  is  an  adequate  basis  for  grounding  a  per- 
sonal participation  in  the  sin  of  Adam.  In  consequence  of 
this  difficulty,  one  class  of  theologians  has 
diSfbuf  hnn"edire^  rccoilcd  from  tlic  doctriuc  of  the  immediate 
imputation  of  Adam's  first  sin,  and  resolved 
the  guilt  of  native  depravity  into  our  subsequent  concurrence 
in  it.  That  is,  it  becomes  sin  in  us  only  by  our  free  consent 
to  its  impulses — we  make  it  sin  by  endorsing  it.  But  if  it 
be  given  to  us  as  a  part  of  our  constitution  without  any  fault 
justly  chargeable  upon  us,  it  is  hard  to  understand  how  a 
life  s]3ontaneously  manifesting  itself  in  conformity  Avith  ex- 
isting conditions  can  be  criminal  in  man  any  more  than  in 
the  brute,  unless  the  whole  of  his  moral  probation  be  sum- 
med up  in  the  duty  of  resisting  his  nature.     If  sin  only  then 

according  to  the  Scrip- 

Lect.  xiil]  original  sin.  347 

begins  wheu  his  will  has  adoptedlhe  suggestions  of  corrupt 
lust,  then  it  is  implied  that  not  only  up  to  that  point  he  is 
innocent,  but  that  he  is  fully  competent  to  mortify  the  flesh 
and  extirpate  his  depravity.  If  he  has  not  the  power  to  re- 
sist and  subdue,  if  his  will  is  mastered  by  his  nature,  it  is 
clear  that  the  same  reasoning  which  exempted  native  cor- 
ruption from  the  imputation  of  guilt,  must  also  exempt  all 
the  acts  necessitated  by  it.  To  maintain  a  will  stronger 
than  depravity  is  contrary  to  the  whole  teaching  of  Scripture 
concerning  the  extent  and  degree  of  that  depravity,  and  is 
also  inconsistent  with  the  doctrine  of  the  necessity  of  redemp- 
tion. Unless  therefore  we  begin  with  guilt,  we  can  never 
end  with  guilt.  Either  Adam's  sin  must  be  imputed,  or  all 
his  race  must  be  pronounced  free  from  aught  that  is  blame- 
worthy or  deadly.  Hence,  the  Scriptures 
teach  exjjlicitly  that  we  are  first  charged 
with  the  guilt  of  Adam's  sin,  and  then,  as 
the  legal  consequence,  are  born  with  natures  totally  corru])t. 
The  matter  may  be  put  in  another  light.  The  disobedi- 
ence of  Adam  was,  unquestionably,  the  be- 

Another    statement  •        •  r     •       '       j.1  rri.    j.    T      1       T 

of  the  case  giuning  01  SHi  u\  the  race.     Ihat  disobedi- 

ence determined  the  moral  habitude  or 
condition  of  his  own  soul,  and  determined  it  by  a  judicial 
sentence.  He  lost  the  image  of  God  because  he  was  guilty. 
The  whole  human  race  are  born  destitute  of  that  image. 
Now,  their  destitution  is  beyond  doubt  the  consequence  of 
his  sin.  In  what  way  or  on  what  principle  the  consequence  ? 
There  are  but  two  possible  suppositions  :  a  consequence 
either  implying  or  not  implying  blameworthiness  in  them 
— a  mere  process  of  nature  or  a  decree  of  justice.  If  a  mere 
process  of  nature,  then  their  existence  absolutely  begins  with 
their  birth,  and  the  state  in  which  they  find  themselves  is 
an  appointment  of  God  analogous  to  that  which  determines 
the  qualities  of  a  tree  or  the  propensities  of  a  beast.  They 
are  just  what  God  made  them.  But  it  can  be  no  sin  to  re- 
ceive a  nature  which  you  cannot  determine.  If  now  the 
nature  conditions  the   life,  there  can  be  no  sin  in  that  life  in 

348  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIIL 

as  far  as  it  answers  to  the  nature.  If,  on  the  other  hand, 
our  depravity  is  the  judicial  consequence  of  the  first  trans- 
gression, then  it  supposes  not  only  that  we  existed,  but  that 
we  acted,  in  Adam ;  and  then  we  have  a  point  for  all  the 
subsequent  determinations  of  guilt.  The  nature  is  wicked 
in  me  on  the  same  principle  that  it  was  wicked  in  Adam — 
it  was  contracted  by  a  wicked  act. 

Others  are  content  with  the  general  statement  of  Adam's 

natural  and  federal  relations  to  the   race, 
ment!'  """"'^'^  ^*^*''"     witliout  attempting  to  explain  how  the  one 

is  grounded  in  and  justified  by  the  other. 
They  are  willing  to  admit  that  the  existence  of  every  indi- 
vidual begins  at  the  moment  of  his  personal  manifestation 
in  time.  But  they  contend  that  the  judicial  sentence  of  the 
covenant  conditions  the  type  of  that  manifestation,  and  ne- 
cessitates the  appearance  of  every  descendant  of  Adam  as  a 
sinner.  If  asked,  Whether  representation  can  be  arbitrary? 
they  answer.  No ;  there  must  be  a  bond  between  the  head  and 
the  members.  If  asked.  What  is  the  tie  between  Adam  and 
his  race  ?  they  answer.  That  of  blood.  His  natural  headship 
fits  and  qualifies  him  for  federal  headship.  This  theory,  in 
avoiding  the  metaphysics  of  personal  unity,  and  resolving 
the  whole  connection  into  a  moral  and  political  community 
founded  in  blood,  has  some  advantages.  It  is  justified  by 
many  analogies — by  the  present  constitution  of  families, 
commonwealths  and  states — and  avoids  the  difficulty  growing 
out  of  the  limitation  of  Adam's  influence  upon  us  as  to  his 
first  sin.  But  it  has  also  serious  drawbacks.  It  does  not 
explain  the  sense  of  guilt  as  connected  with  depravity  of 
nature — how  the  feeling  of  ill  desert  can  arise  in  relation  to 
a  state  of  mind  of  which  the  subjects  have  been  only  passive 
recipients.  The  child  does  not  reproach  himself  for  the 
afflictions  which  his  father's  follies  have  brought  upon  him ; 
and  the  subject  does  not  feel  that  he  is  punished  in  the  ca- 
lamities which  a  wicked  ruler  brings  upon  a  nation.  He 
makes  a  marked  distinction  between  those  ills  which  he  ex- 
periences in  consequence  of  his  social  and  political  connec- 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL  SIN.  349 

tions  with  others,  and  those  which  he  experiences  in  conse- 
quence of  his  own  fault.  Our  inborn  corruption  we  do  feel 
to  be  our  fault — it  is  our  crime  as  well  as  our  shame.  Be- 
sides, this  theory  fails  to  explain  the  necessity  of  spiritual 
death.  It  does  not  show  why  God,  in  justice,  must  renounce 
the  communion  of  those  who  are  still  personally  innocent 
while  putatively  guilty.  He  might  visit  them  with  evil  as 
a  magistrate,  and  still  treat  them  with  sympathy  and  love 
in  their  personal  characters.  They  might  suffer  without  be- 
coming depraved.  If  they  are  not  in  themselves  the  proper 
objects  of  odium,  why  should  they  be  hated  ?  These  are 
difficulties  connected  with  the  account  which  recognizes  no 
deeper  unity  than  the  natural  and  political.  This  theory, 
however,  is  the  one  commonly  accepted  in  this  country.  Its 
simplicity  recommends  it.  But  I  confess  the  leaning  of  my 
own  mind  to  some  theory  which  shall  carry  back  our  exist- 
ence to  the  period  of  Adam's  probation. 

On  these  grounds  I  am  free  to  confess  that  I  cannot  escape 
from  the  doctrine,  however  mysterious,  of 

Generic    unity    the  ...  ,  ^        .         n 

true  basis.  ^  geucric  uuity  m  man  as  the  true  basis  of 

the  representative  economy  in  the  covenant 
of  works.  The  human  race  is  not  an  aggregate  of  separate 
and  independent  atoms,  but  constitutes  an  organic  whole, 
with  a  common  life  springing  from  a  common  ground. 
There  is  an  unity  in  the  whole  species ;  there  is  a  point  in 
which  all  the  individuals  meet,  and  through  which  they  are 
all  modified  and  conditioned.  Society  exerts  even  a  more 
powerful  influence  upon  the  individual  than  the  individual 
upon  society,  and  every  community  impresses  its  own  pecu- 
liar type  upon  the  individuals  who  are  born  into  it.  This 
is  the  secret  of  the  peculiarities  of  national  character. 
There  was  one  type  among  the  Greeks,  another  among  the 
Asiatics,  and  still  another  among  the  Romans.  The  Eno-- 
lishman  is  easily  distinguished  from  the  Frenchman,  the 
Chinese  from  the  European,  and  the  Negro  from  all.  In 
the  same  way  there  is  a  type  of  life  common  to  the  entire 
race  in  which  a  deeper  ground  of  uuity  is  recognized  than 

350  ORIGINAL  SIN.  [Lect.  XIII. 

that  which  attaches  to  national  associations  or  the  narrower 
ties  of  kindred  and  blood.  There  is  in  man  what  we  may 
call  a  common  nature.  That  common  nature  is  not  a  mere 
generalization  of  logic,  but  a  substantive  reality.  It  is  the 
ground  of  all  individual  existence,  and  conditions  the  type 
of  its  development.  The  parental  relation  expresses,  but 
does  not  constitute  it — propagates,  but  does  not  create  it.  In 
birth  there  is  the  manifestation  of  the  individual  from  a  na- 
ture-basis which  existed  before.  Birth  consequently  does  not 
absolutely  begin,  but  only  individualizes  humanity.  As, 
then,  descent  from  Adam  is  the  exponent  of  a  potential  exist- 
ence in  him,  as  it  is  the  revelation  of  a  fact  in  relation  to  the 
nature  which  is  individualized  in  a  given  case,  it  constitutes 
lawful  and  just  ground  for  federal  representation.  God  can 
deal  with  the  natural  as  a  covenant  head,  because  the  natural 
relation  proceeds  upon  an  union  which  justifies  the  moral. 

The  second  explanation  is  that  of  Edwards,  who  endea- 
vours to  reduce  all  identity  to  an  arbitrary 
arbUraJconsutuUoT.  coustitutiou  of  God,  and  finds  the  same 
ultimate  ground  of  the  personal  unity  of 
Adam  and  the  race  as  for  the  personal  identity  of  the  same 
individual  in  diiFerent  periods  of  his  existence,  or  the  con- 
tinued identity  of  the  same  substance  in  the  successive 
changes  of  its  being.  This  doctrine  is  unquestionably  a 
paradox,  and,  however  ingeniously  put,  sets  at  defiance  the 
plainest  intuitions  of  intelligence. 

But  it  may  be  asked.  Do  you  mean  to  say  that  each  indi- 
vidual will  actually  expressed  itself  in  the  prevarication  of 
Adam — that  each  man  actually  ate  of  the  forbidden  fruit  ? 
As  individuals  certainly  not ;  as  individuals  none  of  us  then 
existed.  In  our  separate  and  distinct  capacity  his  sin  was 
no  more  ours  than  our  sins  are  his.  But  as  the  race,  which 
was  then  realized  in  him  as  it  is  now  realized  in  all  its  in- 
dividuals, his  act  was  ours.  How  the  individual  is  related 
to  the  genus,  how  the  genus  contains  it,  and  how  the  indi- 
vidual is  evolved  from  it,  are  questions  which  I  am  utterly 
unable  to  solve.     But  their  mystery  is  no  prejudice  to  their 

Lect.  XIII.]  ORIGINAL  SIN.  351 

truth.     Our  moral  convictions  demand  that  we  should  pre- 
dicate   such     an   unity  of  mankind;  and 

Mystery,   no   preju-       xU  U  •in. 

dice  to  truth.  tJiougli  a  great  mystery  itself,  it  serves  to 

clear  up  other  mysteries  which  are  pitch 
darkness  without  it. 

If  this  account  of  the  representative  principle  should  be 
rejected,  we  can  only  fall  back  upon  the  testimony  of  Scrip- 
ture, and  treat  it  as  an  ultimate  fact  in  the  moral  govern- 
ment of  God  until  a  satisfactory  explanation  can  be  given. 
We  must  accept  it  as  we  accept  other  first  principles,  and 
patiently  wait  until  the  difficulties  connected  with  it  are  dis- 
sipated by  further  light.  It  does  explain  hereditary  sin  and 
hereditary  guilt ;  it  does  unlock  the  mystery  of  God's  deal- 
ing with  the  race ;  it  does  meet  all  the  requirements  of  con- 
science in  reference  to  our  own  moral  state  and  condition. 
^^   ,^        ,  ^11  that  it  leaves  unsolved  is  the  ground 

The   theory  of  rep-  ^     .  .  °    v^^ii^i 

reseutation  alone  con-  01  its  owii  righteousucss.  Every  othcr 
InironSrcr  t^^^^y  ^^  obliged  to  deny  native  depravity, 
and  to  contradict  at  once  the  explicit  teach- 
ings of  Scripture  and  the  articulate  enunciations  of  con- 



WE  liavc  now  traced  the  history  of  man,  and  of  God's 
dealings  with  him,  from  Creation  to  the  Fall.  We 
have  seen  him  in  his  primitive  innocence  when  he  walked 
in  the  light  of  his  Creator's  countenance,  was  regaled  wuth 
the  beauties  of  nature,  received  the  homage  of  the  creatures, 
and  exulted  in  the  prospect  of  a  blessed  immortality.  He 
was  at  once  a  king  and  a  priest — a  king  to  whom  the  garden 
was  a  palace,  and  who  exercised  undisputed  dominion  over 
every  lower  rank  of  sublunary  being — a  priest  in  the  great 
temple  of  nature,  Avho  gathered  first  from  the  fullness  of 
his  own  heart,  and  then  from  the  various  perfections  of  the 
creatures,  the  manifold  praises  of  God  and  poured  them  forth 
in  doxology  and  adoration  into  the  ears  of  the  Eternal.  He 
occujiied  a  noble  elevation.  He  had  a  grand  destiny  before 
him.     But  how 

"  Little  knows 
Any,  but  God  alone,  to  value  right 
The  good  before  him,  but  perverts  best  things 
To  worst  abuse  or  to  their  meanest  use  !"  ^ 

The  scene  becomes  woefully  changed,  and  instead  of  truth, 
justice,  innocence  and  sanctitude  severe,  we  are  presented 
with  the  brood  of  ills  that  have  sprung  from  the  pregnant 
womb  of  sin.  We  must  now  survey  the  race  amid  the  ruins 
of  the  fall,  and  we  must  never  lose  sight  of  the  consideration 
that  the  condition  in  which  we  now  find  ourselves  is  one  of 
condemnation  and  of  guilt.  The  frowning  aspect  of  Provi- 
1  Par.  Lost,  iv.,  1.  201-204. 

Lect.  XIV.]     THE   STATE    AND    NATURE   OF   SIN.  353 

dence  which  so  often  darkens  our  world  and  appals  our 

minds,  receives  its  only  adequate  solution  in  the  fact  that 

the  fall  has  fearfully  changed  the  relations  of  God  and  the 

creature.      We    are    manifestly  treated  as 

state  of  sin.  ...  ,  , 

criminals  under  guard.  We  are  dealt 
with  as  guilty,  faithless,  suspected  beings  that  cannot  be 
trusted  for  a  moment.  Our  earth  has  been  turned  into  a 
jjrison,  and  sentinels  are  posted  around  us  to  awe,  rebuke 
and  check  us.  Still,  there  are  traces  of  our  ancient  gran- 
deur ;  there  is  so  much  consideration  shown  to  us  as  to  jus- 
tify the  impression  that  these  prisoners  were  once  kings, 
and  that  this  dungeon  was  once  a  palace.  To  one  unac- 
quainted with  the  history  of  our  race  the  dealings  of  Provi- 
dence in  regard  to  us  must  appear  inexplicably  mysterious. 
The  whole  subject  is  covered  with  light  when  the  doctrine 
Theological  import-  0^  ^hc  Fall  is  uudcrstood.  The  gravest 
auce  of  the  doctrine  of     thcological  crroi's  witli  rcspcct  alike  to  the 

character  of  God  and  the  character  of  man 
have  arisen  from  the  monstrous  hypothesis  that  our  present 
is  our  primitive  condition,  that  Ave  are  now  what  God  origi- 
nally made  us,  and  that  the  exactions  of  his  law  have  always 
been  addressed  to  the  circumstances  of  disadvantage  and  im- 
becility which  now  unquestionably  attach  to  us.  This  were 
surely  to  cast  a  grave  imputation  upon  the  Judge  of  all  the 
earth ;  and  so  strongly  has  the  injustice  of  such  an  adminis- 
tration been  felt  that  others  have  not  scrupled  to  modify 
the  principles  of  the  Divine  government  so  as  to  make  them 
square  with  the  imperfect  condition  of  the  species.  It  can- 
not be  denied  that  if  the  present  be  assumed  as  our  natural 
state,  it  is  impossible  to  vindicate  God's  justice  if  he  con- 
demn us  for  that  which  He  Himself  of  His  own  sovereign 
will  implanted  in  us,  and  equally  impossible  to  vindicate 
His  holiness  in  implanting  sin  within  us,  or  in  not  punish- 
ing it  when  He  finds  it  there.  Most  of  the  errors  touchinsr 
human  ability  have  arisen  from  inattention  to  the  relations 
in  which  the  fall  has  placed  us  to  God.  The  whole  doctrine 
of  redemption  is  conditioned  upon  these  relations,  and  we 

Vol.  I.— 23 

354  THE   STATE   AND   NATURE   OF   SIN.    [LiXT.  XIV. 

can  therefore  neither  know  ourselves,  nor  God,  nor  the  Re- 
deemer, without  the  knowledge  of  the  moral  features  of  our 
present  state.  It  is  represented  in  the  Scriptures  as  a  state 
of  sin  aud  misery,  and  our  own  experience  abundantly  jus- 
tifies the  melancholy  record.  But  if  we  would  compass  in 
any  just  measure  the  magnitude  of  our  ruin,  we  must  in- 
quire into  the  nature  of  sin,  and  see  whence  it  derives  its 
malignity  and  bitterness ;  we  must  then  survey  the  extent 
to  which  we  are  involved  in  sin,  and  trace  the  steps  by 
which  we  have  sunk  to  this  degree  of  degradation ;  we 
must  finally  vindicate  the  justice  and  goodness  of  God  in 
His  dispensations  toward  us,  and  when  we  have  taken  this 
wide  survey,  we  may  return  prepared  to  appreciate  the  bless- 
ings of  the  Gospel. 

I.  The  first  point  to  be  considered  is  the  nature  of  sin,  or 
the  answer  to  the  question,  What  is  sin? 

What  is  sin?  rr^^  r'  i  i       •  i  •  • 

The  first  and  most  obvious  determuiation 
of  it,  and  that  to  which  the  mind  instantly  reverts,  is  its  re- 
lation to  the  moral  law.     Where  there  is 

First:  Objective  tie-  i  xi         a  j.i  j.1  i 

terminations.  "^  ^^^^f  ^lic  Apostlc  assurcs  US  there  can  be 

no  transgression.  The  moral  law  is  the 
standard,  or  measure,  by  which  the  man  must  l^e  tried.  It 
prescribes  alike  what  he  is  required  to  be  and  what  he  is  re- 
quired to  do.  It  extends  to  the  whole  sphere  of  his  volun- 
tary being.  It  is  the  mould  into  which  his  w*hole  life  must 
be  run.  Whatever,  therefore,  in  him  is  not  in  accordance 
with  the  law  is  sin.  Hence,  sin  is  described  by  John  as 
being  essentially  dvojAa — a  state  of  non-conformity  wdth  the 
law.  It  is  a  matter  of  no  consequence  how 
JnolT^uZluZ.  the  law  is  made  known,  whether  through 
the  operations  of  conscience  or  an  express 
revelation  from  God ;  its  authority  does  not  depend  upon 
the  mode  of  announcing  it,  but  upon  its  inherent  nature  as 
the  standard  and  measure  of  moral  rectitude.  No  matter 
how  proclaimed,  the  soul  of  man  instantly  resj)onds  to  it  as 
holy  and  just  and  good.  He  feels  that  it  speaks  Avith  au- 
thority, aud  that  perfection  neither  in  being  nor  condition 

Lect.  XIV.]    THE   STATE   AND   NATURE   OF   SIN.  355 

can  be  attained  to  apart  from  its  requisitions.  "Wlien  the 
question  is  asked,  What  does  the  law  demand  ?  some  have 
sought  to  restrict  it  to  external  actions,  others  have  con- 
fined it  to  chosen  and  deliberate  purposes,  but  it  is  generally 
maintained  that  its  domain  is  coextensive  with  the  domain 
of  the  will.  That  it  is  not  to  be  limited  to  external  acts  is 
evident  from  all  those  testimonies  of  Scripture  which  affirm 
it  to  be  spiritual,  and  from  the  universal  conscience  of  the 
race,  which  condemns  the  motive  even  more  severely  than 
the  act,  and  conditions  the  morality  of  the  agent  more  by  his 
purposes  than  his  actual  doings.  When,  however,  the  obli- 
gation of  the  law  is  said  to  be  measured  bv  the  extent  of  the 
will,  the  statement  is  not  to  be  accepted  without  an  explana- 
tion. If  by  will  is  meant  only  the  conscious  volitions,  or  the 
conscious  preferences  of  the  man,  the  statement  is  quite  too 
narrow.  Those  states  or  habitual  dispositions  from  which 
these  conscious  preferences  proceed,  those  permanent  condi- 
tions of  the  mind  which  determine  and  shape  every  motive 
and  every  act  of  choice,  are  as  truly  within  the  jurisdiction 
of  the  law  as  the  volitions  themselves.  There  is  a  something 
which  we  ought  to  be  as  well  as  a  something  which  we 
ought  to  do.  The  law  is  as  much  the  rule  of  our  being  as 
of  our  life.  If  it  should  be  asked  how  we  can  become  re- 
sponsible for  original  habits  and  dispositions  which  exist 
prior  to  any  exercise  of  will,  and  condition  and  determine 
all  its  choices,  we  must  either  resolve  the  thing  into  a  primi- 
tive and  inexplicable  deliverance  of  our  moral  nature,  or 
presuppose  that,  in  our  primitive  state,  these  constitutional 
peculiarities  are  the  result  of  an  act  of  will.  Man  was  made 
without  any  tendencies  to  evil ;  these  he  has  superinduced 
upon  himself  by  voluntary  transaction,  and  they  are,  there- 
fore, related  to  the  will  as  its  prosier  product.  This  is  evi- 
dently the  case  in  relation  to  acquired  habits  ;  they  spring, 
in  the  first  instance,  from  the  will,  and  afterwards  master  it. 
So  the  whole  inheritance  of  native  depravity  which  we  bring 
with  us  into  the  world,  with  all  those  tendencies  to  evil 
which  hold  the  will  in  bondage,  arc  the  fruits  of  a  free  act 

356  THE   STATE    AND   NATURE   OF   SIN.    [Lect.  XIV. 

of  choice.  But  whatever  may  be  the  exjjlanation,  Scripture 
and  experience  concur  in  attributing  a  moral  significancy  to 
the  dispositions  which,  in  our  present  state,  lie  back  of  the 
will.  The  malice  which  prompts  to  murder  is  as  hateful  as 
the  murderous  deed ;  the  propensity  which  kindles  at  temp- 
tation is  something  more  than  a  weakness — it  is  a  positive 

If  now  the  law  regulates  the  being  and  the  life  of  man,  it 
is  clear  that  our  first  determination  of  sin,  taken  from  its 
relation  to  the  law,  extends  its  sphere  to  the  inward  condi- 
tion as  well  as  the  outward  expression  of  the  soul — to  the 
state  of  the  heart  as  Avell  as  to  the  actions  of  the  life.  What- 
ever is  not  in  exact  accordance  with  the  spirit  and  temper 
of  the  law,  whatever  is  out  of  harmony  with  it,  either  in  the 
way  of  defect,  omission  or  overt  transgression,  is  of  the 
formal  nature  of  sin. 

But  sin  is  not  distinguished  from  a  crime,  or  an  immoral- 
ity, or  a  vice,  by  this  determination.     We 

It  is  disobedience  to  j.ii  ±t  i  j_i/* 

(Jq^  must  add  anotner  element  beiore  non-con- 

formity with  the  law  is  entitled  to  be  called 
sin.  That  term  indicates  a  special  relation  to  God — nothing 
is  sin  which  does  not  directly  or  indirectly  terminate  in  Him. 
Hence,  the  law  must  be  considered  as  the  expression  of  His 
will,  and  then  our  determination  by  the  external  standard 
or  measure  is  complete,  and  sin,  as  transgression  of  the  law, 
becomes  disobedience  to  God.  It  is  the  want  of  correspond- 
ence betwixt  His  will  and  ours.  But  when  we  have  reached 
this  point,  do  we  feel  that  our  inquiries  are  satisfied  ?  Is  it 
enough  to  say  that  such  is  the  will  of  God,  or  such  is  the 
law,  to  satisfy  the  demands  of  our  moral  nature  ?  Must  we 
not  go  further,  and  inquire  into  the  grounds  of  that  will  ? 
Is  it  arbitrary,  capricious,  and  can  moral  distinctions  be 
created  by  a  simple  act  of  the  Divine  will  considered  with- 
out reference  to  any  ulterior  ground  or  motive  ?  As  moral 
character  in  man  depends  upon  dispositions  and  principles 
back  of  his  volitions,  must  there  not  be  something  analo- 
gous in  God,  something  in  the  very  nature  and  grounds  of 

Lect.  XIV.]     THE   STATE    AND    NATURE   OF   SIN.  357 

His  being  wliich  determines  His  will  to  command  and  for- 
bid what  it  does  ?  Unquestionably  there  is ;  it  is  the  holi- 
ness of  the  Divine  nature,  that  essential  rectitude  of  His 
being,  which  constitutes  His  glory  and  without  which  we 
could  not  conceive  Him  to  be  an  object  of  worship  or  reve- 
rential trust.  Holiness  is  represented  in  the  Scriptures  as 
the  very  life  of  God.  In  all  other  beings  it  is  an  accident 
separable  from  the  essence ;  in  God  it  is  His  very  self  It 
pervades  all  His  other  attributes  and  perfections,  and  makes 
them  to  be  pre-eminently  divine.  His  infinite  knowledge, 
tempered  by  his  holiness,  becomes  wisdom.  His  infinite 
power,  wielded  by  this  same  holiness,  becomes  the  guardian 
of  justice,  truth  and  innocence.  His  infinite  will,  impreg- 
nated with  holiness,  becomes  the  perfect  standard  of  right- 
eousness and  duty.  This  perfection  is  God's  crown  and 
glory,  and  hence  sin  appears  as  the  contrast  to  God's  holiness 
and  the  coming  short  of  God's  glory.     It 

It  is  the  contradic-       .  j.      '         ^      '  ±  •  t      t      -,. 

tion  of  God's  holiness.     ^^  uot  Simply  trausgrcssion,  disobedience; 

it  is  the  want  of  holiness.  These  are  all 
Scripture  determinations.  They  are  derived  from  the  com- 
parison of  man's  character  and  life  with  an  external  stand- 
ard ;  they  are  objective  representations  of  sin,  and  it  is  these 
alone  through  which  the  conscience  is  first  awakened  and 
man  convinced  of  the  evil  that  is  in  him. 

But  although  these  objective  determinations  are  enough 
for  duty,  they  are  not  enough  for  speculation.  They  do  not 
satisfy  the  wants  of  science.  We  are  impelled  to  go  far- 
ther and  inquire  whether  there  is  any  specific  quality  which 
distinguishes  sin,  and  by  virtue  of  which  all  its  forms  and 
manifestations  can  be  reduced  to  unity.     Let  us,  therefore 

now  notice  its  subjective  determinations. 
ive  dTterJinationr       ^^  fixiug  thcsc,  the  first  thing  to  be  borne 

in  mind  is  the  ethical  ground  of  God's  rio-ht 
to  the  service  of  man.  This  ethical  ground  is  the  complete 
dependence  of  man  upon  God.  The  creature  lives  only  in 
the  will  of  the  Creator,  Its  life,  faculties  and  powers  are 
only  continued  expressions  of  the  will  that  underlies  them. 

358  THE   STATE   AND    NATURE   OF   SIN.   [Lect.  XIV. 

The  obvious  relation  implied  in  the  term  creature  is  that  of 
absolute  dependence  on  the  will  of  the  Creator.  In  him- 
self, man  is  nothing.  He  is  something  only  in  his  relations 
to  the  will  of  God.  This  gives  to  God  an  absolute  right  of 
property  in  him.      The  true  ethical  ground,  therefore,  is 

The  true  ethical  i^^'^^^'s  rcktion  to  God  as  the  expression  of 
ground  of  right  and  His  will  and  the  product  of  His  power. 
Now,  as  the  ground  of  man's  life  is  the 
will  of  God,  the  law  of  his  life  must  also  be  that  will.  De- 
pendence as  being  necessitates  dependence  as  moral  being'. 
The  moment  you  lose  sight  of  this  dependence  you  have,  in 
so  far  as  I  can  see,  no  ethical  ground  of  right  whatever. 
You  cannot  ground  it  in  power,  for  superior  power  gives  no 
right.  For  the  same  reason,  you  cannot  ground  it  in  wis- 
dom. If  the  ground  of  man's  existence  be  found  in  him- 
self, and  of  God's  in  Himself,  then  from  these  elements  there 
will  emerge  as  clearly  the  idea  of  personal  independence  as 
there  would  in  the  relation  of  two  creatures  to  each  other. 
Hence,  it  is  impossible  to  take  a  right  start  in  tracing  the 
doctrine  of  sin  without  taking  in  the  idea  of  creation. 

We  are  now  prepared  to  see  the  specific  shape  wliich  obe- 
dience must  take.     There  must  a  supreme  devotion  in  the 

T„„..i„.=     „.  c„      will  of  the  creature  to  that  of  the  Creator, 

Involves     our    su-  ' 

preme  devotion  to  and  tliis  dcvotiou  is  suprcmc  when  there  is 
not  the  slightest  deviation  of  the  former 
from  the  latter.  This  supreme  devotion  constitutes  the 
moral  condition  of  the  soul  indispensable  to  true  holiness. 
Now,  how  is  this  condition  to  be  expressed  ?  Unquestion- 
ably in  Love.  But  although  love  is  the  expression  of  obe- 
dience to  law,  we  are  not  to  suppose,  as  Miiller  has  done  in 
his  work  on  Sin,  that  love  exhausts  the  whole  sphere  of 
duty,  and  that  everything  commanded  may  be  logically 
deduced  from  love.  The  duties  of  justice  cannot  by  any 
possibility  be  construed  into  forms  of  benevolence.  To 
speak  the  truth  is  not  to  love  God,  though  love  to  God  en- 
sures truth.  Love  is  the  expression  of  that  state  of  the 
heart  which  will  induce  and   ensure  universal   obedience. 

Lect.  XIV.]     THE   STATE   AND    NATURE    OF   SIN.  359 

Thus,  while  it  is  the  motive  and  ground  of  obedience,  it 
does  not  constitute  the  whole  object-matter  of  that  obe- 
dience. It  is  the  universal  form,  but  not  the  universal 
matter.  It  is  the  ground-form,  the  motive-principle,  but 
not  the  logical  genus.  We  can  now  understand,  also,  the 
place  which  love  to  the  creature  occupies.  Rule  out  the